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This book is due at the LOUIS R. WILSON LIBRARY on the 
last date stamped under "Date Due." If not on hold it may be 
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NOV \7 y 2 

■n No 513 






Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hil 

launders ,Otley & C°,£root &,W. 1866 




c. v 


YOL. I. 





[All rights reserved.] 







INTRODUCTION . . . . . . .1 


Home — Glimpse at "Washington City . . .33 


Political Contest — Commencement of the Great 
Struggle in America — Secession of the 
Southern States — "We hear of the Fall of 


Port Sumter — Call for Troops — The Stars 
and Bars — Yolunteers — Enlistment of my 
Father — Patriotism of the Southern "Women — 
Harper's Perry — Yisit to Camp — Picnics, 
Balls, &c, &c 43 


Pourth of July — The Yankee Plag is hoisted in 
Martinsburg — Great Excitement — My first 
Adventure — An Article of "War is read to 
me— Miss Sophia B.'s Walk ... 62 


Battle of Manassas — Establishment of a Hospital 
at Pront Royal (Virginia) — A Runaway 
Excursion — Capture of Pederal Oflicers . 76 


Advance of the Federal Army — I leave Home 


with my Father — Battle of Kearnstown — I am 
Arrested and carried Prisoner to Baltimore — 
Released and sent to Martinsburg — I attempt 
to go South, to Richmond— Shields' Army at 
Front Royal — Incidents, &c, &c. . . - . 93 


My Prisoner— Battle of 23rd May — My Share in 
the Action — The Federals Fire upon me — 
The Little Note once more — The Confede- 
rates are 7ictorious — Letter from General 
"Stonewall" Jackson . . . .1:12 


Tone of the Northern Press towards me — General 
Banks refuses to pass me South — How I 
procure Passes — The two Confederate Soldiers 
— I write to " Stonewall " Jackson — Novel 
Method of conveying Information — My Letter 


is Intercepted — I am warned to depart South 
without delay — I prepare to leave . . .146 


I am Arrested by order of Mr. Stanton, Federal 
Secretary of "War — My Room and Trunks are 
closely searched — Yankee disregard for the 
rights of Personal Property — My Departure 
for Washington — My Escort — I arrive at 
General White's Head - quarters in Win- 
chester ....... 157 


A false Alarm — Arrival at Martinsburg — My 
Mother and Family visit me — Departure for 
Washington — My Reception at the Depot — 
The "Old Capitol "—My Prison Room— My 
Treatment — Interview with the Chief of 
Detectives — Offers of Liberty — My Reply — 
A Pleasing Reminiscence of my Captivity . 181 



If y First Night in Prison — The Secret Telegraph — 
An Incident in connection with President 
Davis's Portrait — I am punished for my 
Indiscretion— I am permitted to walk in the 
Prison Yard, where I meet with a Relation — . 
I am informed I am to he exchanged — Depar- 
ture from Washington . . . . .207 


Arrival at Fortress Monroe — Passage up the 
James River — Arrival at Richmond — " Home 
again" — Interview with General "Stone- 
wall" Jackson^- A Hefugee once more- 
Review of the Confederate Army under 
General Lee — I receive my Commission — 
Flying Yisit to my Home — Letter from 
"Stonewall" Jackson — My Reception by 
the People of Knoxville — I hear of the Death 
of General Jackson — Battle of "Winchester — 
At Home once more 229 



Invasion of Pennsylvania — Panic in the Northern 
States— General Lee issues an Order respecting 
Private Property — Battle of Gettysburg — 
The Eetreat of Lee's Army — How I occupied 
my time with other Ladies — I receive a call 
from Major Goff— Am held a Prisoner in my 
own Home — Again come to "Washington a 
Prisoner — New Quarters — The Carroll Prison 
— How Ladies and Gentlemen were treated 
who recognised us in passing the Carroll — 
The " Old Familiar Sound " once more — 
The Bayonet — Our Mail Communication is 
again established ..... 253 


A very Eomantic "Way of Corresponding — The 
Prison Authorities for once are at a loss — My 
Confederate Flags — They wave over "Wash- 


ington in spite of Yankee assertions to the 
contrary — I become very ill — Mr. Stanton in 
an unfavourable ligbt once more — My Prisoner 
of Front Royal in her true Character — Sen- 
tence of Court-martial is announced to me — 
A Eel apse of my former Illness — I am 
banished — The cry of " Murder " raised 
round the Corner — Incidents in my Prison 
Life .271 



" Will you take my life ?" 

This was the somewhat startling question put 
to me by Mrs. Hardinge — better known as Belle 
Boyd — on my recent introduction to her in 
Jermyn Street. 

" Madam," said I, " a sprite like you, who has 
so often run the gauntlet by sea and land, who 
has had so many hair-breadth escapes by flood 
and field, must bear a ' charmed life :' I dare not 
attempt it." Then, placing in my hands a roll 

VOL. 1. B 


of manuscript, she said, " Take this ; read it, 
revise it, rewrite it, publish it, or burn it — do 
"what you will. It is the story of my adventures, 
misfortunes, imprisonments, and persecutions. I 
have written all from memory since I have been 
here in London ; and, perhaps, by putting me 
in the third person you can make a book that 
will be not. only acceptable to the public and 
profitable to myself, but one that will do 
some good to the cause of my poor country, a 
cause which seems to be so little understood in 

I took the manuscript, promising to look it over, 
and return it with an estimate of its merits. I 
have done so ; and hence the publication of "Belle 
Boyd, in Camp and Prison'"' The work is entirely 
her own, with the exception of a few suggestions 
in the shape of foot-notes — the simple, unambitious 
narrative of an enthusiastic and intrepid school- 
girl, who had not vet seen her seventeenth summer 


when the cloud of war darkened her land, chang- 
ing all the music of her young life, her peaceful 
" home, sweet home," into the bugle blasts of 
battle, into scenes of death and most tumultuous 

Believing, with all the people of the South, in 
the sovereignty of the States, and the abso- 
lute political and moral right of secession, our 
young heroine, like Joan of Arc, inspired and 
fired by the " tyranny impending," resolved 
to devote her hands, and heart, and life if 
need be, to the sacred cause of freedom and 
independence. How much she has done and 
suffered in the great struggle which has 
crimsoned the "sunny South" with the "blood 
of the martyrs," we shall leave the reader to 
gather from the narrative itself. 

But, by way of introduction, I have a few inci- 
dental facts to relate ; and it is proper to add 

that I do it entirely on my own responsibility, 

b 2 


and without consulting " our heroine " in the 

At the time of my presentation to Mrs. Har- 
din ge, above alluded to, I found the lady in very 
great distress of mind and body. She was sick, 
without money, and driven almost to distraction 
by the cruel news that her husband was suffer- 
ing the " tender mercies " of a Federal prison, 
Lieutenant Hardinge was in irons ; and his friends 
were prohibited from sending him food or clothing ! 
Letters addressed to his young wife, containing 
remittances, were intercepted ; and thus I found 
her, not quite friendless, in this great wilderness 
of London, but, what is worse, absolutely desti- 
tute of that indispensable and all-prevailing 
friend — money. 

The sight of a pair of flowing eyes, that for 
thirteen long months had refused to weep in 
a Northern prison, were enough to call forth 
the following communication, addressed to the 


*f Morning Herald," that able and consistent 
defender of the Southern cause: — 


" Sir, — Your readers cannot have forgotten the 
glowing description of the recent romantic wedding 
of ' Belle Boyd' (La Belle Mebelle), so pleasantly 
celebrated a few months since at ' a fashionable 
hotel in Jermyn Street.' 

Alas, poor Belle ! Her bridal bliss was 
1 like the snow-fall on a river.' Her husband 
of a day is now tasting the sweets of a Yankee 
prison, and she (who ' was made his wedded wife 
yestreen ') all the bitterness of poverty and 
exile. After enduring for many a long and weary 
month the insults, sufferings, and persecutions 
of the ' Old Capitol Prison,' I heard the afflicted 
lady say yesterday that she ' had rather be there 
as she was than here as she is.' And why ? Cut 
off from all pecuniary resources at home, she has 


had to part with her jewellery piece by piece, 
including her 'wedding presents,' to pay her 
weekly bills. 

"We can well understand how trouble like 
that would smite the heart of a high-toned 
woman, the daughter of affluence and luxury, 
even more cruelly than the tortures of a Federal 

"Without further comment, I will only add 
that Madame Hardinge (Belle Boyd) has pre- 
pared for publication a narrative of her adven- 
tures, imprisonment, and sufferings, for which 
there are no lack of publishers ready to advance 
a handsome sum; but she has recently received 
threatening intimations that her husband's life 
depends upon the suppression of her story ! 

" The father of ' Belle Boyd,' a most respectable 
Virginian gentleman, has lately died, at the age of 
forty-six, from a disease induced by his daughter's 
sufferings. These are the sad, simple facts of the 
case, and I commend them to the kind considera- 


tion of Confederate sympathizers in England. 
Surelypovert y, in a young and accomplished woman, 
is not only a sacred claim to the protection o£ 
society — it is also the very highest credential 
of honour." 

The above was copied by one of the London 
morning papers, with the following sympathetic 
comments : — 

" We are in a position to verify all that is here 
stated, and a great deal more. Probably the 
history of the world does not contain a parallel 
case to that of this newly married lady, who has 
just only emerged from her teens. Her adven- 
tures in the midst of the American war surpass 
anything to be met with in the pages of fiction. 
Her great beauty, elegant manners, and personal 
attractions generally, in conjunction with her 
romantic history before her marriage, which took 
place only three months ago at the West End, 
in the presence of a fashionable assemblage of 


affectionate and admiring friends, concur to invest 
her with attributes which render her such a heroine 
as the world has seldom, if ever, seen in a lady 
only now in her twentieth year." 

Several of the New York journals also copied 
the above, and one of them, " The World," pub- 
lished the following communication : — 

" I would respectfully ask the use of a small 
space in the columns of ' The World ' to say 
a word regarding these statements. 

" Within the past few months Mrs. Hardinge's 
agent in the United States has sent her bills of 
exchange on London bankers to the amount of 
eight hundred pounds sterling, or nearly ten 
thousand dollars in greenbacks. She has never 
received a sou of this money. Her letters have 
been opened here and the drafts extracted before 
going on to her, and this is the reason she is 
in distress. Too proud to beg, too honourable 
to borrow, she pawned her jewels and wedding 


presents, piece by piece, until her situation became 
known to ber friends. Cut off from pecuniary 
resources, a stranger in a strange land, ber bus- 
band in a Northern prison, what could she do ? 
'Surely poverty in a young and accomplished 
woman is not only a sacred claim to the pro- 
tection of society, but is also the very highest 
credential of honour.' 

" I received during the week a letter from this 
poor lady ; and she says, ' I think it is so cruel 
in the Yankees to intercept my letters and stop my 
money, and I don't know why I am thus perse- 
cuted.' It is cruel, and it is beneath the dignity 
of any Government to stoop to such means of 
revenge. Such things in the dark ages would be 
called unchivalrous. Good God ! can this be the 
nineteenth century ? 

" Mr. Hardinge came here, as a peaceable citizen 
would come, to attend to his private business and 
return to England. He had no Confederate duties. 
Having nearly completed his labours, he went to 
Martinsburg to see his wife's mother, and, while 
returning thence, with all the necessary papers 
and passes in his possession, was arrested this 


side of Harper's Ferry. Confined in nondescript 
guard-houses, in jails, and dragged about like a 
convicted felon, he was finally lodged in the Carroll 
Prison at Washington, and from thence taken to 
Fort Delaware. After suffering two months' 
confinement, he was unconditionally released, and 
sailed for Europe on the 8th February. She will 
not be in want or distress when he arrives in 
London. For what he was arrested and confined 
is to him yet a mystery. 

"The intimation to Mrs. Hardinge that the 
publication of her work would endanger the life 
of her husband was not without foundation, as 
there are officials high in power at Washington 
of whom she knows more than is generally 
known, and who will be shown up in their true 
light and colours in her book. They fear the 

It is pleasant to add, that the moment Belle 
Boyd's necessities became known in London the 
most generous offers of assistance were literally 
showered upon her by ladies and gentlemen of 


the highest and best classes in England. And 
here I cannot refrain from saying that, after 
several years of observation and experience, I 
cannot but regard the real nobility of England 
as the noblest and most hospitable people in 
the world. The Southern planters rank — or, alas ! 
did rank — next. 

But this is a digression. Let us glance a 
moment at Belle Boyd in prison, sketched 
by other hands than her own. 

In the month of August, 1862, the editor of the 
"Iowa Herald," D. A. Mahony, Esq., a strong 
Anti-Black Republican, but an able and eloquent 
supporter of the Constitution and the Union, was 
taken from his bed, and, without arraignment or 
trial, and without even being informed of " the 
things whereof he was accused," hurried .away to 
Washington, and thrust into the "Old Capitol 
Prison." What he saw and suffered there he has 
already told the world, in words that ought to 


burn and brand for ever bis lawless and infamous 

Tbe following extracts from Mr. Mabony's 
journal, published by Carleton, of New York, 
give us cbaracteristic glimpses of Belle Boyd in 
prison : — 

"Among tbe prisoners in tbe Old Capitol when 
I reached there was the somewhat famous Belle 
Boyd, to whom has been attributed the defeat of 
General Banks, in the Shenandoah Valley, by 
'Stonewall Jackson. Belle, as she is familiarly 
called by all the prisoners, and affectionately so 
by the Confederates, was arrested and imprisoned 
as a spy 

" The first intimation some of us new-comers in 
the Old Capitol had of the fact of there being a 
lady in that place was the hearing of " Maryland, 
my Maryland," sung the first night of our incar- 
ceration, in what we could not be mistaken was a 
woman's voice. On inquiry, we were informed 
that it was Belle Boyd. Some of us had never 
heard of the lady before ; and we were all 



inquiring about her. Who was she ? where was 
she from ? and what did she do ? . . . . 

"Belle was put in solitary confinement, but 
allowed to have her room-door open, and to sit 
outside of it in a hall or stair-landing in the 
evening. Whenever she availed herself of this 
privilege, as she frequently did, the greatest 
curiosity was manifested by the victims of despo- 
tism to see her. Her room being on the second 
story, those who occupied the third story were 

civilians from Fredericksburg 

" But we must not lose sight of Belle Boyd. I 
heard her voice, my first night in prison, singing 
'Maryland, my Maryland/ the first time I had 
ever heard the Southern song. The words, stirring 
enough to Southern hearts, were enunciated by 
her with such peculiar expression as to touch even 
sensibilities which did not sympathize with the 
cause which inspired the song. It was difficult to 
listen unmoved to this lady, throwing her whole 
soul, as it were, into the expression of the senti- 
ments of devotion to the South, defiance to the 
North, and affectionately confident appeals to 
Maryland, which form the burden of that 


celebrated song. The pathos of her voice, her 
apparently forlorn condition, and, at those times 
when her soul seemed absorbed in the thoughts 
she was uttering in song, her melancholy man- 
ner, affected all who heard her, not only with 
compassion for her, but with an interest in her 
which came near, on several occasions, bringing 
about a conflict between the prisoners and the 

" Fronting on the same hall or stair-landing on 
which Belle Boyd's room-door opened, were three 
other rooms, all filled to their capacity with 
prisoners, mostly Confederate officers. Several of 
these were personally acquainted with Belle, as 
she was most of the time, and by nearly every 
one, called. In the evenings these prisoners were 
permitted to crowd inside of their room-doors, 
whence they could see and sometimes exchange 
a word with Belle. When this liberty was not 
allowed, she contrived to procure a large 
marble, around which she would tie a note, 
written on tissue-paper, and, when the guard 
turned his back to patrol his beat in the hall, she 
would roll the marble into one of the open doors 


of the Confederate prisoners' rooms. When the 
contents were read and noted a missive would be 
written in reply, and the marble, similarly bur- 
dened as it came, would be rolled back to Belle. 
Thus was a correspondence established and kept 
up between Belle and her fellow-prisoners, 
till a more convenient and effective mode was 
discovered. This occurred soon after some of 
us were transferred from room No. 13 to 
No. 10. 

" One day Mr. Shewardand I were rummaging 
in an old, dirty, doorless closet in No. 10, when 
we discovered an opening in the floor, and, looking 
down, perceived the light in the room below, 
which happened to be that occupied by Belle 
Boyd. Here was a discovery ! No sooner was it 
made, than we set to writing a note, which 
was tied to a thread and dropped down through 
the discovered aperture. It happened to be seen 
by Belle, who soon returned the compliment. 
Thenceforth a regular mail passed through the 
floor in No. 10 ; and though Lieutenant Miller 
and Superintendent Wood prided themselves on 
being well informed of every occurrence which 


took place in prison contrary to the rules, with 
all their vigilance, aided by the presence, as they 
admitted, of a detective in every room of the 
prison, except that of Belle Boyd, they never 
discovered this through-the-floor mail. It would 
not be the least interesting chapter in the 
history of the Old Capitol to give in it these 
letters of Belle Boyd. But the time is not 

These last words of Mahony remind me of the 
fact that Belle Boyd, the "rebel spy," is in 
possession of a vast amount of information impli- 
cating certain high officials at Washington, both 
in public and private scandals, which she deems it 
imprudent at present to publish. " The time is 
not yet." 

" Belle usually commenced her evening enter- 
tainment," writes Mahony, " with c Maryland.' " 
Up to this time this patriotic and spirit-stirring 
song, written by young Randall, of Baltimore, 
must be regarded as the "Marseillaise" of the 


South. As it is as yet but little known in 
England, I will here quote it entire — 


" The despot's heel is on thy shore, 

Maryland ! 
His torch is at thy temple door, 

Maryland ! 
Avenge the patriotic gore 
That flecked the streets of Baltimore, 
And be the battle queen of yore, 

Maryland ! my Maryland ! 

" Hark to a wandering son's appeal, 

Maryland ! 
My Mother State, to thee I kneel, 

Maryland ! 
For life and death, for woe and weal, 
Thy peerless chivalry reveal, 
And gird thy beauteous limbs with steel, 
Maryland ! my Maryland ! 

" Thou wilt not cower in the dust, 

Maryland ! 
Thy beaming sword shall never rust, 

Maryland ! 
Remember Carroll's sacred trust, 
Remember Howard's warlike thrust, 
And all thy slumberers with the just, 
Maryland ! my Maryland ! 



" Come ! 'tis the red dawn of the day, 

Maryland ! 
Come with thy panoplied array, 

Maryland ! 
With Binggold's spirit for the fray, 
"With "Watson's blood at Monterey, 
"With fearless Lowe, and dashing May, 
Maryland ! my Maryland ! 

" Dear mother ! burst the tyrant's chain, 

Maryland ! 
Virginia should not call in vain, 

Maryland ! 
She meets her sisters on the plain : 
Sic semper, 'tis her proud refrain, 
That baffles minions back amain. 

Maryland ! my Maryland ! 

" Come ! for thy shield is bright and strong, 

Maryland ! 
Come ! for thy dalliance does thee wrong, 

Maryland ! 
Come to thine own heroic throng, 
That stalks with Liberty along, 
And gives a new Key to thy song, 

Maryland ! my Maryland ! 

" I see the blush upon thy cheek, 

And thou wert ever bravely meek, 

Maryland ! 


But, lo ! there surges forth a shriek, 
From hill to hill, from creek to creek : 
Potomac calls to Chesapeake- 
Maryland ! my Maryland ! 

" Thou -wilt not yield the Vandal toll, 

Maryland ! 
Thou wilt not crook to his control, 

Maryland ! 
Better the fire upon thee roll, 
Better the shot, the blade, the bowl, 
Than crucifixion of the soul, 

Maryland ! my Maryland ! 

" I hear the distant thunder hum, 

Maryland ! 
The Old Line's bugle, fife, and drum, 
Maryland ! 
She is not dead, nor deaf, nor dumb. 
Hurrah ! she spurns the Northern scum ! 
She breathes, she lives ; she'll come, she'll come ! 
Maryland ! my Maryland ! " 

"The singing of this song," says Mahony, 
" often brought Belle in collision with the guard 
who passed to and fro in front of her room door. 
It was, of course, provoking ; but was such a place 
a proper one in which to imprison a female, and 
especially one who, whatever may have been 

c 2 


her offence, was, in the estimation of the world, a 
lady?" .... 

Many a patriotic lady of Baltimore has heen 
arrested by Federal officers for singing the 
patriotic song of "Maryland." But what will 
the English reader say when he learns the follow- 
ing fact ? At one of the most celebrated eating, 
drinking, and singing saloons in London, the 
classical resort of authors, actors, poets, and wits, 
for these hundred years at least, the famous band 
of boys, who sing better than any choir outside 
the Sistine chapel in Rome, after having got 
"the words and air of 'Maryland' by heart," 
are not allowed to sing it, for fear of giving offence ! 
Offence to whom? It might possibly "offend'* 
somebody were they to chant the " Marseillaise." 
To return again to our caged bird : — 

" Belle was allowed to go in the yard on 
Sundays, when there was preaching there. On 


these occasions she •wore a small Confederate flag 
in her bosom. No sooner would her presence he 
known to the Confederate prisoners, than they 
manifested towards her every mark of respect 
which persons in their situation could bestow. 
Most of them doffed their hats as she approached 
them, and she, with a grace and dignity that 
might be envied by a queen, extended her hand 
to them as she moved along to her designated 
position in a corner near the preacher. We 
Northern prisoners of State envied the Con- 
federates who enjoyed the acquaintance of Belle 
Boyd, and who secured from her such glances of 
sympathy as can only glow from a woman's 

" Belle's situation was a peculiarly trying one. 
If she kept her room, a solitary prisoner, her 
health, and probably her mind, would become 
affected by the confinement and solitude ; and 
if she indulged herself by sitting outside her 
room door, she became exposed to the gaze of 
more than a hundred prisoners, nearly all of 
them strangers to her, and many of them her 
enemies by the laws of war. Nor was this all. 


She could not help hearing the comments made 
on her, and the opinions expressed of her, by 
passers-by ; some of them complimentary and 
flattering, it is true, but oftentimes couched in 
expressions which were not what she should hear. 
The guards, too, were sometimes rude to her both 
by word and action. One time, especially, one 
of the guards presented his bayoneted musket at 
her in a threatening manner. She, brave and 
unterrified, dared the craven-hearted fellow to 
put his threat into execution. It was well for 
him that he did not, for he would have been torn 
into pieces before it could be known to the prison 
authorities what had happened. 

" Belle was subjected to another worse annoy- 
ance and indignity than even this. Her room 
fronted on A Street, and, as usual with all 
the prisoners whose rooms had windows open- 
ing towards the street, Belle would sit at her 
window sometimes, and look abroad upon the 
houses, streets, and people of the city named 
after "Washington. It happened frequently that 
troops were moving to and fro, and it was on 
such occasions especially that Belle, prompted by 


that curiosity which seems to be a law of nature 
in mankind, would look through her barred 
window at the soldiers. No sooner would they 
perceive her than they indulged in coarse jests, 
vulgar expressions, and the vilest slang of the 
brothel, made still more coarse, vulgar, and in- 
decent by the throwing off of the little restraint 
which civilized society places upon the most aban- 
doned prostitutes and their companions. . . . 

"Did the officers of the troops passing by 
permit the soldiers to thus insult a female, and 
subject themselves to such scornful and con- 
temptuous reproof? the reader will be apt to 
inquire. Yes ; and participated with the soldiers 
in uttering the most vulgar language and indecent 
allusions to the imprisoned woman; and that, 
too, without having the remotest idea of who she 
was, or of what she was accused. It was enough 
for them that she was a defenceless woman, to 
insult and outrage her by such language as they 
would not dare to apply in the public streets to 
an abandoned woman who had her liberty. And 
these men were going forth to fight the battles of 
the Union ! They had just parted with mothers, 


wives, and sisters. It would seem that, in doing 
so, they turned their backs upon the virtues which 
give beauty to woman and dignity to man. . . . 

"At the general exchange of prisoners which 
took place in September Belle Boyd was sent to 
Richmond. As soon as it became known in the 
' Old Capitol ' that she was about to leave, there was 
not one, Federalist or Confederate, prisoner of state, 
officer of the ' Old Capitol,' as well as prisoner of 
war, who did not feel that he was about to part 
with one for whom he had, at least, a great personal 
regard. With many it was more than mere regard. 

" Every inmate of the ' Old Capitol ' tried to 
procure some token of remembrance from Belle, 
and there was scarcely one who did not bestow 
on her some mark of regard, esteem, or affection, 
as their sentiments and feelings influenced them 
severally, and as the means at their disposal 
afforded them an opportunity to manifest their 
sensibility. While every man who had any 
delicacy of feeling for the apparently forlorn 
prisoner rejoiced at her release from such a loath- 
some place, and from being subjected, as she 
continually was, to insult and contumely, there 


was not a gentleman in the 'Old Capitol' whose 
emotions did not overcome him as he saw her 
leave the place for home." 

Thus kindly and warmly writes the veteran 
editor of the "Iowa Herald," one of the victims of 
Seward's "little bell," for whose imprisonment 
and release the " Powers " at "Washington, 
" clothed with a little brief authority," have 
given no reason or explanation. But was not 
Mr. Mahony "guilty" of being the Democratic 
nominee for Congress ? 

A somewhat more poetic picture of " La Belle 
Hebelle" is given by the accomplished author of 
" Guy Livingstone," in his " Border and Bastille," 
written while tasting the sweets of Federal 
tyranny in that same " Old Capitol " Prison : — 

" Through the bars of a second-story window 
that fronted each turn of my tramp, I saw — this : 
a slight figure, in the freshest summer-toilette 
of cool pink muslin; close braids of dark hair 


shading clear pale cheeks ; eyes that were made 
to sparkle, though the look in them was very 
sad ; and the languid bowing down of the small 
head told of something worse than weariness. 

"Truly a pretty picture, though framed in 
such a rude setting; but almost startling, at 
first, as the apparition of the fair witch in the 
forest to Christabelle 

" No need to ask what her crime had been : 
aid and abetment of the South suggested itself 
before you detected the ensign of the South that 
the demoiselle still wore undauntedly — a pearl 
solitaire, fashioned as a Single Star. I may not 
deny that my gloomy 'constitutional' seemed 
thenceforward a shade or two less dreary ; but, 
though community of suffering does much to 
abridge ceremony, it was some days before I 
interchanged with the fair captive any sign 
beyond the mechanical lifting of my cap, when I 
entered and left her presence, duly acknowledged 
from above. One evening I chanced to be loitering 
almost under the window. A low, significant 
cough made me look up ; I saw the flash of a gold 
bracelet, and the wave of a white hand ; and there 


fell at my feet a fragrant, pearly rose-bud, nest- 
ling in fresh green leaves. My thanks were, per- 
force, confined to a gesture and a dozen hurried 
words ; but I would the prison-beauty could 
believe that fair Jane Beaufort's rose was not 
more prized than hers, though the first was a 
love-token to a king, the last only a graceful gift 
to an unlucky stranger. I suppose that most men, 
whose past is not utterly barren of romance, are 
weak enough to keep some withered flowers till 
they have lived memory down ; and I pretend not 
to be wiser than my fellows. Other fragrant 
messengers followed in their season ; but if ever I 
'win hame to my ain countrie,' I make mine 
avow to enshrine that first rose-bud in my 
reliquaire with all honour and solemnity, there to 
abide till one of us shall be dust." 

With this explanatory introduction, I have 
now only to commend "La Belle Rebelle " to the 
kindly sympathies of her readers — not as an 
authoress (to this she makes no pretensions) ; 
nor as a partisan soldier, although as such she 


has clone good service in the cause ; nor even 
as a freed bird from the " Old Capitol " cage ; but 
simply as a woman — a warm-hearted, impulsive, 
heroic woman of the South, who, maddened by 
the wrongs and cruelties inflicted upon her 
people, and exalted, by the love she bore them, 
above the common cares and considerations of 
life, dashed into the field, bearing more than a 
woman's part in her country's struggle for liberty. 
Like the flashing of the plume in the helmet 
of Navarre, the glancing of the Confederate en- 
sign, when waved by a woman's hand, has never 
failed to fire the soldier's heart to " lofty deeds 
and daring high ;" and on more than a hundred 
Southern battle-fields that proud banner, con- 
secrated by prayers and kisses, baptized in tears 
and blood, has been greeted by the closing eyes of 
its dying defenders as the oriflamme of victory. 
Though lost for the moment in clouds and darkness, 
prophetic Hope, the last solace of the unfortunate, 


still waits and watches for its re-appearance as the 
harbinger of Southern liberty and independence : — 

" For the battle to the strong 

Is not given, 
While the Judge of Eight and Wrong 

Sits in heaven ! 
And the God of David still 
Guides the pebble with his will. 
There are giants yet to kill, 

Wrongs unshriven ! " 

Since the above was written the Southern 
people have suffered a heavy calamity in the 
assassination of the President of the United 
States. Not that Mr. Lincoln was their friend : on 
the contrary, every man and woman in the South, 
and every child born within the last four years, 
regarded him as the official head and personal 
embodiment of all their enemies. But, by the 
removal of the Commander-in-Chief of the great 
army and navy with which they were contending, 
a far more vindictive and unrelenting man is 
invested with the supreme power of the nation. 


Abraham Lincoln, with all his faults and fana- 
ticism, his angularities of character and vulgarities 
of manner, had a sunny side to his nature ; and 
there is every reason to believe that, with his idol 
Union once nominally restored, he would have 
adopted an indulgent, humane policy towards the 
brave and vanquished South, believing, with the 
great poet, that — 

" Earthly power doth, then show likest God's, 
When mercy seasons justice." 

The suspicion which has been officially and 
wickedly thrown upon an honourable and heroic 
people, touching " the deep damnation of his taking 
off," is sufficiently answered by the universal regret 
expressed throughout the Confederacy at President 
Lincoln's death, the public denunciation of his 
murderer, and the horror everywhere felt at the 
idea of being " ruled with a rod of iron" by such 
an unprincipled demagogue as Andrew Johnson ! 
It is usual in cases of murder to look for the 


criminal among those who expect to be benefited 
by the crime. In the death of Lincoln his im- 
mediate successor in office alone receives " the 
benefit of his dying." 

"While deploring the event which places the 
reins of power in the hands of one as unfit to 
control the destinies of a great nation as was the 
reckless youth to guide the chariot of the Sun, 
there can be no injustice in alluding to the fact that 
the Northern Powers and the Northern Press have 
much to answer for on the head of assassination. 
I have yet to learn that the written programme of 
Colonel Dahlgren, which designed the burning 
of Richmond, the ravaging of its women, and the 
murder of President Davis and all his cabinet, has 
ever been disavowed or denounced by the "Washing- 
ton Government, or by the newspapers that support 
it. Philosophy and religion alike teach us that, 
while crime only belongs to the act, the sin of 
murder consists in the intent. In the light of this 


judgment, faint in comparison with that "awful 
light " yet to be thrown, not only upon all human 
actions, but upon " the very thoughts and intents 
of the heart," both North and South, friend and 
foe, rebel and loyalist, the victim and the victor, 
the living and the dead, must all be tried and 
sentenced by One who "judgeth not as man 

In the meantime, let us pray, and hope, and 
labour for liberty, love, and peace. 

Ljadon, May 17th, 1865. 



Home — Glimpse at "Washington City. 

My English readers, who love their own 
hearths and homes so dearly, will pardon 
an exile if she commences the narrative 
of her adventures with a brief reminiscence 
of her far-distant birthplace — 

" Loved to the last, whatever intervenes 
Between us and our childhood's sympathy, 
Which still reverts to what first caught the eye." 

VOL. I. D 


There is, perhaps, no tract of country in 
the world more lovely than the Valley of 
the Shenandoah. There is, or rather, I 
should say, there was, no prettier or more 
peaceful little village than Martinsburg, 
where I was born, in 1844. 

All those charms with which the fancy 
of Goldsmith invested the Irish hamlet in 
the days of its prosperity were realized in 
my native village. Alas ! Martinsburg has 
met a more cruel fate than that of " sweet 
Auburn." The one, at least, still lives in 
song, and will continue to be a household 
word as long as the English language shall 
be spoken : the other was destined to be 
the first and fairest offering upon the altar 
of Confederate freedom ; but no poet has 
arisen from her ruins to perpetuate her 

While America was yet at peace within 
itself, while the States were yet united, 


many very beautiful residences were erect- 
ed in the vicinity of Martinsburg, which 
may be said to have attained some degree 
of importance as a town when the large 
machinery buildings were raised, at a 
vast outlay, by the Baltimore and Ohio 
Railway Company. They were not des- 
tined to repay those who designed them. 

While they were yet in course of con- 
struction their doom was silently, but 
rapidly approaching. They were de- 
stroyed, as the only means of averting 
their capture by the advancing Yankees, 
by that undaunted hero, that true apostle 
of Freedom, "Stonewall" Jackson. 

Eeader, I must once again revert to my 
home, which was so soon to be the prey of 
the spoiler. 

Imagine a bright warm sun shining 
upon a pretty two-storied house, the walls 
of which are completely hidden by roses 

d 2 


and honeysuckle in most luxuriant bloom. 
At a short distance in front of it flows a 
broad, clear, rapid stream : around it the 
silver maples wave their graceful branches 
in the perfume-laden air of the South. . 

Even at this distance of time and space, 
as I write in my dull . London lodging, I 
can hardly restrain my tears when I recall 
the sweet scene of my early days, such as 
it was before the unsparing hand of a ruth- 
less enemy had defaced its loveliness. I 
frequently indulge in a fond soliloquy, and 
say, or rather think, " Do my English 
readers ever bestow a thought upon that 
cruel fate which has overtaken so many of 
their lineal descendants, whose only crime 
has been that love of freedom which the 
Pilgrim Fathers could not leave behind 
them when they left their island home ? 
Do they bestow any pity, any sympathy, 
upon us homeless, ruined, exiled Con- 


federates ? Do they ever pause to reflect 
what would be their own feelings if, far 
and wide throughout their country, the 
ancestral hall, the farmer's homestead, and 
the labourer's cot were giving shelter to 
the licentious soldiers of an invader or 
crackling in incendiary flames ? With 
what emotions would the citizens of Lon- 
don watch the camp-fires of a besieging 
army ? 

" ' Say with, what eye along the distant down 

Would flying burghers mark the blazing town — 
How view the column of ascending flames 
Shake his red shadow o'er the startled Thames.' " 

Much has lately been written of the 
comfort of our Southern homesteads ; and 
now, though so many of them are things of 
the past, while those that remain are no 
longer what they were, I may safely say 
that not even English homes were more 
comfortable, in the true sense of the word, 


than ours; while, for hospitality, we have 
never been surpassed. 

I passed my childhood as all happy 
children usually do, petted and caressed 
by a father and mother, loving and beloved 
by my brothers and sisters. The pecu- 
liarly sad circumstances that attended my 
father's death will be found recorded at a 
future page. Where my mother is hiding 
her head I know not : doubtless she is. 
equally ignorant of my fate. My brothers 
and sisters are dispersed God knows 

But to return to my narrative. I believe 
I shall not be contradicted in affirming 
that nowhere could be found more pleasant 
society than that of Virginia. In this 
respect the neighbourhood of Martinsburg 
was remarkably fortunate, populated as it 
was by some of the best and most respect- 
able families of "the Old Dominion" — 


respectable, I mean, both in reputation 
and in point of antiquity — descendants of 
such ancestors as the Fairfaxes and War- 
ringtons, upon whom Mr. Thackeray has 
lately conferred immortality. 

According to the custom of my country, 
I was sent at twelve years of age to Mount 
Washington College, of which Mr. Staley, 
of whom I cherish a most grateful recollec- 
tion, was then principal. At sixteen my 
education was supposed to be completed, 
and I made my entree into the world in 
Washington City with all the high hopes 
and thoughtless joy natural to my time of 
life. I did not then dream how soon my 
youth was to be " blasted with a curse " — 
the worst that can befall man or woman — 
the curse of civil war. 

Washington is so well known to English 
people that I need not pause to describe 
the city, its gaities and pleasures. In the 


winter of 1860-1, when I made my first 
acquaintance with it, the season was 
pre-eminently brilliant. The Senate and 
Congress halls were nightly dignified by 
the presence of our ablest orators and 
statesmen; the salons of the wealthy and 
the talented were filled to overflowing; 
the theatres were crowded to excess, and 
for the last time for many years to come 
the daughters of the North and the South 
commingled in sisterly love and friend- 

I am inclined to think that at the time 
of which I speak the city of Washington 
must have very nearly resembled that of 
Paris during those few years which im- 
mediately preceded 1789, while the ele- 
ments of a stupendous revolution were yet 
hidden beneath a tranquil and deceitful 
surface. Like the Parisians of that me- 
morable epoch, we were wilfully or fatally 


blind to the signs of the times ; we ate and 
drank, we dined and danced, we went in 
and came out, we married and were given 
in marriage, without a thought of the 
volcano that was seething beneath our 

Who can predict what will be the end 
and issue of our revolution, when we con- 
sider that the effects of that which burst 
forth seventy-five years ago, wrapped all 
Europe in flames, and hurled kings from 
their thrones, are even now but partially 
developed ? How many thousands of our 
sons have fallen in battle, against oppres- 
sors who would not confess that our free- 
dom was beyond their power ! How many 
hapless women and children have perished 
miserably, or been driven forth to beg their 
bread in foreign countries, before enemies 
who with heavy hands have sought to rivet 
our chains — enemies who could not discern 


the truth of the Irish orator's memo- 
rable axiom, and acknowledge that the 
genius of Liberty is universal and irre- 
sistible ! 



Political Contest — Commencement of the Great Struggle 
in America — Secession of the Southern States — We 
hear of the Fall of Fort Sumter — Call for Troops — 
The Stars and Bars — Volunteers — Enlistment of my 
Father — Patriotism of the Southern Women — Har- 
per's Perry — Visit to Camp — Picnics, Balls, &c, &c. 

The gaities of Washing-ton, to which I 
alluded in my first chapter, were soon 
eclipsed by the clouds that gathered in the 
political horizon. 

The contest for the presidentship was 
over, and the men of the South could 
no longer hide it from themselves that 


the issue of the struggle must determine 
their fate. 

The secession of the Southern States, 
individually or in the aggregate, was the 
certain consequence of Mr. Lincoln's elec- 
tion. His accession to a power supreme 
and almost unparalleled was an unequi- 
vocal declaration, by the merchants of New 
England, that they had resolved to exclude 
the landed proprietors of the South from 
all participation in the legislation of their 
common country. 

I will not attempt to defend the institu- 
tion of slavery, the very name of which is 
abhorred in England; but it will be 
admitted that the emancipation of the 
negro was not the object of Northern 
ambition ; that is, of the faction which 
grasps exclusive power in contempt of 
general rights. Slavery, like all other 
imperfect forms of society, will have its 


day ; but the time for its final extinction 
in the Confederate States of America has 
not yet arrived. Can it be urged that 
a race which prefers servitude to freedom 
has reached that adolescent period of exis- 
tence which fits it for the latter condition ? 
Meanwhile, which stands in the better posi- 
tion, the helot of the South, or the " free" 
negro of the North — the willing slave of 
a Confederate master, or the reluctant 
victim of Federal conscription ? 

And here I must take leave to ask a 
question of two great authors, both for- 
merly advocates of an instantaneous aboli- 
tion of slavery. Is the ghost of Uncle 
Tom laid ? Has the slave dreamed his 
last dream ? Will Mrs. H. B. Stowe and 
Mr. Longfellow admit that in either in- 
stance the hero owes his reputation for 
martyrdom to a creative genius and to an 
exquisite fancy ? or will they still contend 


that the negro slave of the Confederate 
States is, physically and morally, a real 
object of commiseration ? 

The first champion of freedom — I speak 
advisedly, and in defiance of a seeming 
paradox — was South Carolina. She was 
a slave-holding State, but she flung down 
the gauntlet in the name and for the cause 
of liberty. Her bold example was soon 
followed. State after State seceded, and 
the Union was dissolved. It was now that 
we heard of the fall of Fort Sumter and 
Mr. Lincoln's demand upon the State of 
Virginia. He called upon her to furnish 
her quota of 75,000 recruits, to engage in 
battle with her sister States. He sowed 
the dragon's teeth, and he soon reaped the 
only harvest that could spring from such 

Virginia promptly answered to the call, 
and produced the required soldiers; but 


they did not rally under the Stars and 
Stripes. It was to the Stars and Bars, the 
emblem of the South, that Mr. Lincoln's 
Virginian soldiers tendered the oath of 
military allegiance. The flag of the once 
loved, but now dishonoured Union was 
lowered, and the colours of the Confederacy 
were raised in its place. 

Since that memorable epoch those 
colours have been baptized with the blood 
of thousands, to whose death in a cause so 
righteous the honour and reverence that 
wait upon martyrdom have been justly 
awarded : — 

" Oh, if there be in this earthly sphere 
A boon, an offering Heaven holds dear, 
It is the libation that Liberty draws 
Prom the heart that bleeds and breaks in her cause." 

The enthusiasm of the enlistment was 
adequate to the occasion. Old men with 
gray hairs and stooping forms, young boys 


just able to shoulder a musket, strong and 
weak, rich and poor, rallied round our 
new standard, actuated by a stern sense 
of duty, and eager for death or victory. 
It was at this exciting crisis that I returned 
to Martinsburg ; and, oh ! what a striking 
contrast my native village presented to the 
scenes I had just left behind me at Wash- 
ington ! My winter had been cheered by 
every kind of amusement and every form 
of pleasure : my summer was about to be 
darkened by constant anxiety and heart- 
rending affliction. 

My father was one of the first to volun- 
teer. He was offered that grade in the 
army to which His social position entitled 
.A" t him ; but, like many of our Virginian 
fr^.^fi^ gentlemen, he preferred to enlist in the 
ranks, thereby leaving the pay and emolu- 
ments of an officer's commission to some 
other, whose means were not so ample, 



and whose family might be straitened in 
his absence from home, an absence that 
must of course interfere with his avocation 
or profession. 

The 2nd Virginian was the regiment to 
which my father attached himself. It was 
armed and equipped by means of a sub- 
scription raised by myself and other ladies 
of the Valley. On the colours were in- 
scribed these words, so full of pathos and 
inspiration : — 

" Our God, our country, and our •women." 

The corps was commanded by Colonel 
Nadenbush, and belonged to that section 
of the Southern army afterwards known as 
"the Stonewall Brigade." "The Stone- 
wall Brigade !" — the very name now bears 
with it traditions of surpassing glory ; and 
I seize this opportunity of assuring Eng- 
lish readers that it is with pride we Con- 

VOL. I. E 


federates acknowledge that our heroes 
caught their inspiration from the example 
of their English ancestors. When our de- 
scendants shall read the story of General 
Jackson and his men, they will be insen- 
sibly attracted to those earlier pages of 
history which record the exploits of Wel- 
lington's Light Division. 

My father's regiment was hardly formed 
when it was ordered to Harper's Ferry ; 
for the sacred soil of Virginia was 
threatened with invasion, and it was 
thought possible to make a stand at this 
lovely spot, to see which is u worth a 
voyage across the Atlantic." At the out- 
break of the war Harper's Ferry could 
boast of one Of the largest arid best arsenals 
in America, and of a magnificent bridge, 
which latter, spanning the broad stream of 
the Potomac, connected Maryland with 
Virginia. Both arsenal and bridge were 


blown up in July, 1861, by the Con- 
federate forces, when the Federals, press- 
ing upon them in overwhelming numbers, 
compelled a retreat. 

My home had now become desolate and 
lonely: the excitement caused by our 
exertions to equip our father for the field 
had ceased, and the reaction of feeling had 
set in. A general sadness and depres- 
sion prevailed throughout our household. 
My mother's face began to wear an 
anxious, careworn expression. Our nights 
were not passed in sleep, but in thinking 
painfully of the loved one who was 
exposed to the dangers and privations of 

My mother, the daughter of an old officer, 
was left an orphan when very young ; she 
had married my father just as she entered 
upon her sixteenth year ; and now, almost 
for the 'first time, they were parted, under 

e 2 


circumstances which made the separation 
bitter indeed. For myself, I endeavoured 
to while away the long hours of those 
summer days by the aid of my books, and 
in making up different kinds of portable 
provisions for the use of my father, to 
whom I knew they would, in his novel 
position, be a luxury. 

But, notwithstanding all the restrictions 
I laid upon myself, and all the self-control 
I endeavoured to exert, I soon found these 
employments too tame and monotonous to 
satisfy my temperament, and I made up 
my mind to pay a visit to the camp, coute 
qui coute. I had no difficulty in prevail- 
ing upon some of my friends to accompany 
me in an expedition to head-quarters. 
Like myself, they had friends and relations 
to whom they felt their occasional presence 
would be a source of encouragement and 
solace ; and we all knew that such a goodly 


company as we formed could return safely 
to Martinsburg at almost any hour of the 
day or night. 

The camp at Harper's Ferry was at this 
time an animated scene. Officers and men 
were as gay and joyous as though no 
bloody strife awaited them. The ladies, 
married and single, in the society of hus- 
bands, brothers, sons, and lovers, cast their 
cares to the winds, and seemed, one and 
all, resolved that, whatever calamity the 
future might have in store for them, it 
should not mar the transient pleasures 
of the hour. Since then I have had 
occasion to observe that such a state of 
feeling is not unnatural or unusual in 
the minds of men standing, as it were, 
on the brink of a precipice, or walking, 
as it were, over the surface of a mine. 
" Perils commonly ask to be paid in 
pleasures," and the payment is doubly 


sweet when it is taken in anticipation of 
the debt. 

I fear that at this time many fond vows 
were exchanged and many true hearts 
pledged between the girls of the neighbour- 
hood and the occupants of the camp ; but it 
may be pardoned to beauty and innocence 
if they are not insensible to the virtues of 
courage and patriotism. 

A true woman always loves a real sol- 
dier. In the earliest ages poets and 
philosophers foretold that the Goddess of 
Love and Beauty would ever move in the 
same orbit and in close conjunction with the 
God of Battles, and the experience of ages 
has confirmed the judgment of antiquity. 
Alas ! the loves of Harper's Ferry were 
in but too many instances buried in a 
bloody grave. The soldier who plighted 
his faith to his ladye-love was not tried 
in a long probation, but canonized by an 


early death. War will exact its vic- 
tims of both sexes, and claims the hearts 
of women no less than the bodies of 

To return from this digression. Our in- 
souciance was not of long duration. The 
advance of a Federal army was reported ; 
and General Jackson, with a force amount- 
ing to 5000 men, marched out to recon- 
noitre, and, if possible, to check their ag- 
gressive movement. Our people encamped 
at "Falling Waters,'' a romantic spot, 
eight miles from Martinsburg and four 
from Williamsport ; for at this point of 
the river, it was rumoured, the Yankees 
had resolved to force a passage. 

It was early in the morning of the 3rd 
July that we a gude folks " of dear Martins- 
burg were startled by the roar of artillery 
and the rattle of musketry; and the in- 
telligence was presently circulated that the 


Yankees were advancing upon us in force, 
under the command of Generals Patterson 
and Cadwallader. It turned out, however, 
that, at the moment of which I speak, their 
advanced guard only was in motion ; but 
the skirmish between our people and the 
enemy was sustained during nearly five 
hours. On both sides some fell, and, 
besides the casualties of the Federals in 
killed and wounded, we took about fifty of 
them prisoners. 

About ten o'clock General Jackson's 
army, in admirable array, marched through 
Martinsburg. They were in full retreat, 
their object being to effect a junction 
with the main body, under General J. E. 
Johnston, who had evacuated Harper's 
Ferry, and was falling back, by way of 
Charlestown, upon Winchester. 

Jackson's retreat was covered by a few 
horsemen under the gallant Colonel Ashby ; 


and scarcely were these latter disengaged 
from the streets of the town, when the 
shrill notes of the fife and the roll of 
the drum announced the approach of a 
Federal army, which proved to be 25,000 

It was to us a sad, but an imposing 
sight. On they came (their colours 
streaming to the breeze, their bayonets 
glittering in the sunlight), with all the 
" pomp and circumstance of glorious war." 
We could see from afar the dancing plumes 
of the cavalry — 

' ' the glittering files, 
O'er whose gay trappings stem Bellona smiles ;" 

we could before long hear the rumbling 
of the gun-carriages, and, worse than this, 
the hellish shouts with which the infuriated 
and undisciplined soldiers poured into the 


At the time of their entry I was in the 
hospital, with my negro maid and some 
ladies of my acquaintance, in attend- 
ance upon two of our Southern soldiers, 
who had been stricken down with fever 
and were lying side by side. These were 
the sole tenants of the hospital : all the 
others had been borne off by the retreating 

I was standing close by the side of one 
of these poor men, who was just then 
raving in a violent fit of delirium, when 
I was startled by the sound of heavy foot- 
steps behind me ; and, turning round, I 
confronted a captain of Federal infantry, 
accompanied by two private soldiers. He 
held in his hand a Federal flag, which he 
j)roceeded to wave over the bed of the sick 

men, at the same time calling them u • ■ 


I immediately said, with all the scorn I 


could convey into my looks, ' l Sir, theso 
men are as helpless as babies, and have, as 
you may see, no power to reply to your 

" And pray," said he, "who may you 
be, miss ?" 

I did not deign to reply ; but my 
negro maid answered him, " A rebel 

Hereupon he turned upon his heel and 
retired, with the courteous remark that 

" I was a independent one, at all 


I hope my readers will pardon my quot- 
ing his exact words : without such strict 
accuracy I should fail to do justice to his 

Notwithstanding this interruption to our 
" woman's mission," the ladies to whom I 
have before alluded and myself were not 
discouraged ; and before long we contrived 


to get our patients moved to more com- 
fortable quarters. They were taken away 
on litters ; and, while they were in this 
defenceless condition, a condition which 
would have awakened the sympathy and 
secured the protection of a brave enemy, 
the Federal soldiers crowded round and 
threatened to bayonet them. 

Their gesticulations and language grew 
so violent, their countenances, inflamed by 
drink and hatred, were so frightful, that I 
nerved myself to seek out an officer and 
appeal to his sense of military honour, even 
if the voice of mercy were silent in his 
breast. Let me do him the justice to say, 
he restrained his turbulent men from fur- 
ther molestation, and I had the unspeak- 
able satisfaction of conveying my sick 
men to a place of safety. The satisfac- 
tion was immeasurable ; for I never for 
one moment forgot that insults such as I 


had just seen offered to defenceless men 
might at any moment be heaped upon 
my own father. 



Fourth of July — The Yankee Flag is hoisted in Martins- 
burg — Great Excitement — My first Adventure — An 
Article of War is read to me — Miss Sophia B.'s 

The morning of the 4th of July dawned 

I need hardly say, for it is well known, 
that the Anniversary of the Declaration of 
Independence has, in each succeeding year 
from that of its birth, been hailed with 
triumphant acclamations by a nation still 
too young to moderate its transports and 
lend its ear to the voice of reason rather 
than to the impulse of passion. 


The Yankees were in undisputed posses- 
sion of Martinsburg ; the village was at 
their mercy, and consequently entitled to 
their forbearance ; and it would at least 
have been more dignified in them had they 
been content to enjoy their almost blood- 
less conquest with moderation ; but, what- 
ever might have been the intentions of the 
officers, they had not the inclination, or 
they lacked the authority, to control the 
turbulence of their men. 

The severance of the North from the 
South had now become in feeling so com- 
plete, that we Martinsburg girls saw the 
Union flag streaming from the windows of 
the houses with emotions akin to those 
with which the ladies of England would 
gaze upon the tricolour of France or the 
eagle of Russia floating above the keep of 
Windsor Castle. Those hateful strains of 
" Yankee Doodle" resounded in every 


street, with an accompaniment of cheers, 
shouts, and imprecations. 

Whisky now began to flow freely ; for, 
amid the motley crowd of Americans, 
Dutchmen, and other nations, the Irish 
element predominated. The sprigs of 
shillelahs were soon at work, and the 
u sons of Erin " proved that they could use 
their sticks with no less effect in an Ame- 
rican town than at an Irish fair. They set 
at defiance the authority of those among 
their officers who vainly interposed to quell 
the tumult and restrain the lawless violence 
that was offered to defenceless citizens and 

The doors of our houses were dashed 
in ; our rooms were forcibly entered by 
soldiers who might literally be termed 
11 mad drunk," for I can think of no other 
expression so applicable to their condition. 
Glass and fragile property of all kinds was 


wantonly destroyed. They found our 
homes scenes of comfort, in some cases 
even of luxury ; they left them mere 
wrecks, utterly despoiled and mutilated. 
Shots were fired through the windows; 
chairs and tables were hurled into the 

In some instances a trembling lady would 
make a timid appeal to that honour which 
should be the attribute of every soldier, or, 
with streaming eyes and passionate accents, 
plead for some cherished object — the por- 
trait, probably, of a dead father, or the 
miniature her lover placed in her hand 
when he left her to fight for his freedom 
and hers — upon which many a secret kiss 
had been pressed, many a silent tear had 
fallen, before which many an earnest prayer 
had been breathed. 

To such supplications the reply was in- 
variably a volley of blasphemous curses 

VOL. i. f 


and horrid imprecations. Word s from which 
the mind recoils with horror, which no 
man with one spark of feeling would utter 
in the presence even of the most aban- 
doned woman, were shouted in the ears of 
innocent, shrinking girls ; and the soldiers 
of the Union showed a malignant, a fiendish 
delight in destroying the effigies of ene- 
mies whom they had not yet dared to 
meet upon equal terms in an open field of 

Surely it is not strange that cruelties 
such as I have attempted to describe have 
exasperated our women no less than our 
men, and inspired them with sterner feel- 
ings than those which inflame the bosoms 
of ladies who know nothing of invasion 
but its name, who have never at their own 
firesides shuddered at the oaths and threats 
of a robber disguised in the garb of a 


Shall I be ashamed to confess that I 
recall without one shadow of remorse the 
act by which I saved my mother from 
insult, perhaps from death — that the blood 
I then shed has left no stain on my soul, 
imposed no burden upon my conscience ? 

The encounter to which I refer was 
brought about as follows : — A party of 
soldiers, conspicuous, even on that day, for 
violence, broke into our house and com- 
menced their depredations ; this occupa- 
tion, however, they presently discontinued, 
for the purpose of hunting for "rebel 
flags," with which they had been informed 
my room was decorated. Fortunately for 
us, although without my orders, my negro 
maid promptly rushed up-stairs, tore down 
the obnoxious emblem, and, before our 
enemies could get possession of it, burned 

They had brought with them a large 

f 2 


Federal flag, which they were now pre- 
paring to hoist over our roof in token of 
our submission to their authority ; but to 
this my mother would not consent. Step- 
ping forward with a firm step, she said, 
very quietly, but resolutely, " Men, every 
member of my household will die before 
that flag shall be raised over us." 

Upon this, one of the soldiers, thrusting 
himself forward, addressed my mother and 
myself in language as offensive as it is 
possible to conceive. I could stand it no 
longer ; my indignation was roused beyond 
control ; my blood was literally boiling in 
my veins ; I drew out my pistol* and shot 
him. He was carried away mortally 
wounded, and soon after expired. 

Our persecutors now left the house, and 

* All our male relatives being with the army, we ladies 
were obliged to go armed in order to protect ourselves as 
best we might from insult and outrage. 


we were in hopes we had got rid of theni, 
when one of the servants, rushing in, cried 
out — 

" Oh, missus, missus, dere gwine to burn 
de house down ; dere pilin' de stuff ag'in 
it ! Oh, if massa were back !" 

The prospect of being burned alive 
naturally terrified us, and, as a last re- 
source, I contrived to get a message con- 
veyed to the Federal officer in command. 
He exerted himself with effect, and had 
the incendiaries arrested before they could 
execute their horrible purpose. 

In the meantime it had been reported at 
head-quarters that I had shot a Yankee 
soldier, and great was the indignation at 
first felt and expressed against me. Soon, 
however, the commanding officer, with 
several of his staff, called at our house to 
investigate the affair. He examined the 
witnesses, and inquired into all the circum- 


stances with strict impartiality, and finally 
said I had u done perfectly right." He 
immediately sent for a guard to head- 
quarters, where the elite of the army was 
stationed and a tolerable state of discipline 

Sentries were now placed around the 
house, and Federal officers called every- 
day to inquire if we had any complaint to 
make of their behaviour. It was in this 
way that I became acquainted with so 
many of them ; an acquaintance " the 
rebel spy " did not fail to turn to account 
on more than one occasion. 

When the news reached the Confederate 
camp at Darksville, seven miles from Mar- 
tinsburg, on the Valley Eoad, that I had 
shot a Yankee soldier in self-defence, 
together with the false report that for so 
doing I had been thrown into the town 
gaol, the soldiers with one accord volun- 


teered to storm the prison and rescue me, 
or die to a man in the attempt. It is with 
pride and gratitude that I record this proof 
of their esteem and respect for what I had 
done. It is with no less pleasure I reflect 
that their devotion was not put to the 
test, and that no blood was shed on my 

And now, for seven consecutive days, 
General Jo. Johnston sent in a flag of 
truce offering battle to General Patterson : 
this challenge Patterson persistently de- 
clined. I am not so ignorant of warfare 
as not to know that strategic reasons 
justify the most daring general in refusing 
battle whenever and wherever he pleases. 

" If thou art a great soldier, come and 
fight." " If thou art a great soldier, make 
me come and fight." 

But, though the Federal commander 
had a perfect right to choose his own 


battle-field, he had, in my opinion, no 
right to couple his refusal of the challenge 
with a threat that, as soon as Johnston 
should think fit to make an aggressive 
movement, he would at once shell Martins- 
burg, which sheltered the non-combatants, 
the women and the children, the sick and 
the infirm. 

Meanwhile, my residence within the 
Federal lines, and my acquaintance with 
so many of the officers, the origin of which 
I have already mentioned, enabled me to 
gain much important information as to the 
position and designs of the enemy. What- 
ever I heard I regularly and carefully 
committed to paper, and whenever an 
opportunity offered I sent my secret 
despatch by a trusty messenger to General 
J. E. B. Stuart, or some brave officer in 
command of the Confederate troops. 
Through accident or by treachery one of 


these missives fell into the Yankees' hands. 
It was not written in cipher, and, more- 
over, my handwriting was identified. I 
was immediately summoned to appear be- 
fore some colonel, whose name I have for- 
gotten; but I remember it was Ca'ptain 
Gwyne who escorted me to head-quarters. 
There I was alternately threatened and 
reprimanded, and finally the following 
"Article of War" was read to me in a 
most emphatic manner, and with the cau- 
tion that it would be carried out in the 
spirit and the letter : — 

" Aeticle of War. 

"Whoever shall give food, ammunition, information to, 
or aid* and abet the enemies of the United States Govern- 

* I had been confiscating and concealing their pistols 
and swords on every possible occasion, and many an 
officer, looking about every where for his missing weapons, 
little dreamed who it was that had taken them, or that 
they had been smuggled away to the Confederate camp, 


ment in any manner whatever, shall suffer death, or 
whatever penalty the honourable members of the Court- 
martial shall see fit to inflict." 

I was not frightened, for I felt within 
me the spirit of the Douglas, from whom I 
am descended. I listened quietly to the 
recital of the doom which was to be my 
reward for adhering to the traditions of 
my youth and the cause of my country, 
made a low bow, and, with a sarcastic 
" Thank you, gentlemen of the Jury," I 
departed ; not in peace, however, for my 
little "rebel" heart was on fire, and I 
indulged in thoughts and plans of venge- 

From this hour I was a " suspect," and 
all the mischief done to the Federal cause 
was laid to my charge ; and it is with un- 
feigned joy and true pride I confess that the. 

and were actually in the hands of their enemies, to be 
used against themselves. 


suspicions of the enemy were far from 
being unfounded. 

On one occasion a friend of mine, Miss 

Sophia B , of Martinsburg, a lovely 

girl, slipped away with a lettre de cachet, 
walked seven miles to the camp of Stone- 
wall Jackson, and handed him important 
information, which was productive of much 
good. She, like myself, had brothers en- 
rolled in that band of heroes. 



Battle of Manassas — Establishment of a Hospital at Front 
Eoyal (Virginia) — A Buna-way Excursion — Capture 
of Eederal Officers. 

Throughout the North the utmost con- 
fidence was felt that the subjugation of 
the rebels would be rapid and complete. 
" Ninety days !" " On, onto Richmond !" 
was the cry ; but the shout was changed 
to a wail, on Manassas plains, where the 
first great battle of the war was fought. 

The action was precipitated by Patter- 
son's attempt to prevent Johnston from 
effecting a junction with Beauregard at 


Manassas. In this he failed, and the 
result of the movements and counter- 
movements was the battle of " Bull Run."* 
This great Confederate victory has become 
an historical fact; I shall therefore pass 
it by in silence, and proceed to the narrative 
of my own personal adventures. 

At the time in question I was at Front 
Royal (Virginia), on a visit to my uncle 

and aunt, Mr. and Mrs. S . I wish it 

were in my power to give my readers 
some faint idea of this picturesque village, 

* Here it was that the Stonewall Brigade acquired its 
name. The fire was very hot, and the — th South Caro- 
lina Eegiment of Infantry, thrown into confusion, wavered, 
and was upon the point of breaking. 

"Steady, men, steady," shouted Colonel Bartow, in a 
loud voice. "Look at General Jackson's brigade: they 
stand firm and immovable as a stone wall." The — th, 
animated by the voice and gesture of their gallant com- 
mander, and by the example of Jackson's men, rallied ; 
and Colonel Bartow, taking advantage of the enthusiasm 
he had kindled, led his regiment at once to the charge, 
when he fell covered with wounds and honour. 


which nestles in the bosom of the sur- 
rounding mountains, and reminds one of 
a young bird in its nest. A rivulet, 
which sometimes steals round the obstacles 
to its course, sometimes bounds over them 
with headlong leap, at last finds its way 
to the valley beneath, and glides by the 
village in peace and beauty. 

The scene is far beyond my powers of 
description. It is worthy of the pencil 
of Salvator Rosa, or the pen of the author 
of " Gertrude of Wyoning," and I only 
wish the great landscape-painter had been 
given to our age and had wandered to the 
hills and valleys of Virginia. 

To this romantic retreat my uncle and 
aunt had fled, as deer fly for safety to 
the hills. They had resided in Wash- 
ington, but their Southern sympathies 
were too strong and too openly expressed 
to allow of their remaining unmolested in 


the Northern capital. They left a magni- 
ficent house, replete with handsome furni- 
ture, a prey to the Yankees, who converted 
it into barracks. 

Orders now came from the battle-field 
of Bull Run to the effect that the General 
in command had fixed upon Front Royal 
for the site of an extensive hospital, for 
the wounded Confederate soldiers. Every 
one in the village and the neighbourhood 
showed the greatest alacrity — I should say, 
enthusiasm — in preparing, in the shortest 
possible time, all that our suffering heroes 
could require. I bore my part, and 
before long was duly installed one of the 
" matrons." 

My office was a very laborious one, and 
my duties were painful hi the extreme ; 
but then, as always, I allowed but one 
thought to keep possession of my mind — 
the thought that I was doing all a woman 


could do in her country's cause. The 
motto of my father's regiment was en- 
graven on my heart, and I trust that I have 
always shown by my actions that I under- 
stood its significance. 

After six or eight weeks spent in inces- 
sant nursing, I was forced to return to my 
home at Martinsburg, in order to recruit 
my health, which had suffered severely; 
and I leave my readers to imagine with 
what joy I heard my dear mother's praises 
of actions which she, in her fond affection, 
styled heroic. 

In October my mother and myself 
resolved upon a short visit to my father 
at Manassas. We stayed at a large house, 
situated in the very centre of the camp. 
This tenement was then the temporary 
abode of several other ladies, wives and 
daughters of officers. 

During this period I had frequently the 


honour of acting the part of courier 
between General Beauregard, General 
Jackson, and their subordinates. 

This was a happy time, but it did not 
last long; and, after a few weeks spent 
as above described, my mother and I 
returned to Martinsburg. The winter 
passed very quietly, and brought me but 
a single adventure worth recording. 

I was riding out one evening with two 
young officers,* one a cousin and the other 
a friend, when my horse, a young and 
high-spirited creature, took fright, and 
ran away with me. Notwithstanding all 
my efforts, I failed to stop him until he 
had carried me within the Federal lines, 
a goal to which my companions could not 
venture to follow me. 

* My English readers may deem it strange that a young 
girl should ride alone with young gentlemen, but the 
practice is not in America considered a breach of decorum. 

VOL. I. G 


I felt rather uncomfortable, not knowing 
exactly how to act; but I soon made up 
my mind that, for this once, at all events, 
valour would be the better part of discre- 
tion, if not prudence itself; so, riding 
straight up to the officer in command of 
the picket, I said — 

" I beg your pardon — you must know 
that I have been taking a ride with some 
of my friends ; my horse ran away with 
me, and has carried me within your lines. 
I am your captive, but I beg you will 
permit me to return." 

u We are exceedingly proud of our 
beautiful captive," replied one of the 
officers, with a bow, "but of course we 
cannot think of detaining you." Then, 
after a moment's pause, he added — 

" May we have the honour of escorting 
you beyond our lines and restoring you 
to the custody of your friends ? I suppose 


there is no fear of those cowardly rebels 
taking ns prisoners ?" 

" I had scarcely hoped," I replied, 
"for such an honour. I thought you 
would probably have given me a pass ; 
but, since you are so kind as to offer your 
services in person, I cannot do otherwise 
than accept them. Have no fear, gentle- 
men, of the ' cowardly rebels.' " 

They little thought how those words, 
" cowardly rebels," rankled in my heart. 

Off we started ; and imagine their blank 
looks when, soon after they had escorted 
me beyond their lines, my Confederate 
friends, who had been anxiously waiting 
for me, rode out from their ambush and 
joined the party. All four looked sur- 
prised and embarrassed. I broke the 
general silence, by saying, with a laugh, to 
the Confederates, " Here are two prisoners 
that I have brought you." 

g 2 


Then, turning to the Federal officers, I 
said — 

" Here are two of the t cowardly rebels ' 
whom you hoped there was no danger of 
meeting !" 

They looked doubtfully and inquiringly 
at me, and, after a short pause, exclaimed 
almost simultaneously — 

" And who, pray, is the lady ?" 
" Belle Boyd, at your service," I re- 

" Good God ! the rebel spy !" 
" So be it, since your journals have 
honoured me with that title." 

After this short colloquy we escorted 
them, without any attempt at resistance on 
their part, to head-quarters, and related all 
the circumstances of the adventure to the 
officer in command, who ordered them to 
be detained. 

The Yankees reproached us bitterly with 


our treachery ; but when it is considered 
that their release followed their capture 
within an hour, that they had in the first 
instance stigmatized the rebels, when none 
were near, as cowards, that they had im- 
mediately afterwards yielded without a 
blow to an equal number of these self-same 
cowards, I think my readers will admit 
their spirit of bravado well merited a 
slight humiliation. Let us hope they 
have profited by the lesson. I consoled 
myself that " all was fair in love and 

Although Bull Run had been fought, 
and I had witnessed the outrages of July 
4th at Martinsburg, we had hardly yet 
realized the horrors of war, or, to speak 
more correctly, we did not allow ourselves 
to believe in their continuance. We hoped 
that enough had been done to pave the 
way for reconciliation. Winter set in and 


closed the campaign, and, with a cessation 
of active hostilities, our apprehensions for 
the future were forgotten in our enjoyment 
of the present. 

It was only when spring returned, and 
brought with it no sign of a dove from the 
ark, that we realized how far the waters of 
the deluge were from subsiding. Balls 
and sleighs, mirth and laughter, vanished 
with the last snows of winter ; and it was 
with sad and sickening hearts we saw 
Colonel Ashby and his cavalry evacuate 
the town. 

But a very few years since, Henry, after- 
wards Colonel Ashby, was one of those 
young men whose characters have been so 
often imagined by writers of romance, but 
are so rarely met with in real life. He 
united in himself all those qualifications 
which justly recommend their possessor to 
the love of the one sex and to the esteem 


of the other. At once tender and respect- 
ful, manly and accomplished, animated and 
handsome, he won without an effort the 
hearts of women. Brave and good-hu- 
moured, he combined simplicity with ta- 
lents of the highest order. He entertained 
a strict sense of honour, and never forgot 
what was due to himself; and he was ever 
wont to forget an injury, and even to 
oardon an insult, upon the first overture of 
the offender. 

Endowed with such qualities, it is not 
surprising he was a universal favourite; 
and, indeed, it was commonly said the 
spirit of Admirable Crichton had revisited 
the world in the person of Henry Ashby. I 

Such a man was sure to be among the 
first to draw his sword in the cause of 

At an early period of the war he was 
appointed to the command of a regiment 


of cavalry, in which capacity he displayed 
an unusual degree of vigilance and alacrity 
in the arduous service of outpost duty. 

On one occasion his regiment was drawn 
up at some distance from a railroad which 
passed directly across his front. On the 
farther side was broken ground, well cal^ 
culated to conceal a large body of men 
Colonel Ashby, therefore, ordered out a 
small party to reconnoitre, putting theni 
under command of his younger brother, 
between whom and himself there sub' 
sisted an affection warm, genuine, almost 

Unfortunately " Dick Ashby' s " impetu- 
osity overlaid his judgment, and, ex- 
ceeding the instructions he had received 
from his brother, he passed some distance 
beyond the railway, and suddenly found 
himself in presence of a large body of the 


He retreated in admirable order; but 
the Yankees pressed bard upon him, and 
be and bis little band were overtaken upon 
the railroad. 

Here a fatal accident befell poor Dick 
Ashby. His horse stumbled and fell at 
one of the cuts.* In this defenceless con- 
dition he was set upon without mercy, 
without even quarter being offered, by five 
Yankees at once. 

In spite of these odds, and the disad- 
vantage at which he was taken, he sold his 
life so dearly that his five assailants were 
all killed or wounded. By this time 
Colonel Ashby, leading on his regiment at 
a gallop, had reached the scene of action, 

* These cuts are large drains, or rather tunnels, cut 
transversely through the lines of American railways, at 
short intervals. They serve to carry off such a rush of 
■water as would otherwise inundate the line after a heavy 
fall of rain or the overflow of a river. They are of course 
covered, and the trains pass over them. 


and, the contest being now pretty equal, 
the Federals soon fled, and were pursued 
as far as the nature of the ground would 
permit. The victors then returned to the 
railway, and hastily dug a shallow grave, 
into which all that remained of Dick Ashby 
was consigned. 

Colonel Ashby dismounted, and, kneel- 
ing by the mutilated body, gently disen- 
gaged the sword from his dead brother's 
hand; then, breaking it into pieces, he 
cast them into the grave, and on that so- 
lemn spot vowed to avenge his brother's 
murder and to consecrate the remainder of 
his life to the service of his country. 

This vow he faithfully kept. His cha- 
racter underwent a change as instantaneous 
and enduring as that of Colonel Gardiner. 
All his gaiety and high spirits forsook 
him. In society he was rarely heard to 
speak, never seen to smile, and, after a 


brief, but glorious career, lie fell in an un- 
equal and desperate struggle, cheering on 
his men with his dying breath. 

" The bravest are the tender est : 
The gentle are the daring." 

I shall conclude this chapter with an- 
other short episode, which proves how sud- 
denly national disorders discover the hidden 
force of individual character. 

Miss D., at the outbreak of the war, was 
a lovely, fragile-looking girl of nineteen, 
remarkable for the sweetness of her temper 
and the gentleness of her disposition. 

A few days before the battle of Bull 
Run a country market-cart stopped in the 
Confederate lines, at the door of General 
Bonham's tent. A peasant-girl alighted 
from the cart and begged for an immediate 
interview with the General. 

It was granted. 


" General Bonham, I believe?" said the 
young lady, in tones which betrayed her 
superiority to the disguise she had assumed. 
Then, tearing down her long, black hair, 
she took from its folds a note, small, damp, 
and crumpled ; but it was by acting upon 
this informal despatch that General Beau- 
regard won the victory of Bull Run. 

Miss D. had passed through the whole 
of the Federal army. I dare not now 
publish her name ; but, if ever these pages 
meet her eye, she will not fail to recognise 
her own portrait, nor will she be displeased 
to find that her exiled countrywoman che- 
rishes the remembrance of her intrepidity 
and devotion. 



Advance of the Federal Army — I leave Home 'with my 
Father — Battle of Kearnstown — I am Arrested and 
carried Prisoner to Baltimore — Beleased and sent to 
Martinsburg — I attempt to go South to Bichmond — 
Shields' Army at Front Boyal — Incidents, &c, &c. 

With the first genial days of spring the 
Federal troops broke up their winter quar- 
ters, and advanced again upon the devas- 
tated village of Martinsburg, which had 
been held during the winter by the Confe- 
derates. Martinsburg, situated as it was 
on the border of the State, was inces- 
santly a bone of contention, and its cap- 


ture and recapture were of frequent recur- 

My father, who had been at home on 
sick-leave for several weeks, was now able 
to resume his military duties, and he de- 
cided upon removing me farther south, as 
our home was in constant peril, and I had 
gained a notoriety which would hardly 
recommend me to the favourable notice of 
the Federals in the event of their shortly 
reoccupying Martinsburg, which seemed 
only too probable. 

Accordingly I was again sent to Front 
Royal, there to remain until our home 
should once more be secure. 

A few days after my arrival at Front 
Royal a battle was fought close by, at 
Kearnstown. The Confederates, vastly 
overmatched in numbers, were forced to 
retreat, and Front Royal became the prize 
of the conquerors. Thus, to use a homely 


adage, " out of the frying-pan into the 
fire " had been my fate. 

Upon the approach of the enemy my 
uncle and aunt, taking with them one 
daughter, quitted home with the intention 
of reaching Richmond, leaving their other 

daughter, Alice S , a beautiful girl 

about my own age, our grandmamma, Mrs. 
Glynn and myself, to take charge of the 
house and servants, and act in all contin- 
gencies to the best of our ability. 

When I found that the Confederate 
forces were retreating so far down the 
Valley, and reflected that my father was 
with them, I became very anxious to re- 
turn to my mother ; and, as no tie of duty 
bound me to Front Royal, I resolved upon 
the attempt at all hazards. 

I started in company with my maid, and 
had got safely without adventure of any 
kind as far as Winchester, when some un- 


known enemy or some malicious neutral 
denounced me to the authorities as a Con- 
federate spy. 

Before, however, this act of hostility or 
malice had been perpetrated, I had taken 
the precaution of procuring a pass from 
General Shields ; and I fondly hoped that 
this would, under all circumstances, secure 
me from molestation and arrest ; for I was 
not aware that, while I was in the very act 
of receiving my bill of u moral health," an 
order was being issued by the Provost- 
Marshal which forbade me to leave the 

When the hour which I had fixed for my 
departure arrived I stepped into the railway- 
cars, and was congratulating myself with 
the thought that I should ere long be at 
home once more, and in the society of 
those I loved, when a Federal officer, Cap- 
tain Bannon, appeared. He was in charge 


of some Confederate prisoners, who, under 
his command, were en route to the Balti- 
more prison. 

I was more surprised than pleased when, 
handing over the prisoners to a subordi- 
nate, he walked straight up to me, and 
said — 

" Is this Miss Belle Boyd ?" 

" Yes." 

" I am the Assistant-Provost, and I re- 
gret to say orders have been issued for your 
detention, and it is my duty to inform you 
that you cannot proceed until your case has 
been investigated; so you will, if you 
please, get out, as the train is on the point 
of starting." 

" Sir," I replied, presenting him General 
Shields' pass, "here is a pass which I beg 
you will examine. You will find that it 
authorizes my maid and myself to pass on 
any road to Martinsburg." 

VOL. I. H 


He reflected for some time, and at last 
said — 

" Well, I scarcely know how to act in 
your case. Orders have been issued for 
your arrest, and yet you have a pass from 
the General allowing you to return home. 
However, I shall take the responsibility 
upon my shoulders, convey you with the 
other prisoners to Baltimore, and hand you 
over to General Dix." 

I played my role of submission as 
gracefully as I could ; for where resistance 
is impossible it is still left to the vanquished 
to yield with dignity. 

The train by which we travelled was 
the first that had been run through from 
Wheeling to Baltimore since the damage 
done to the permanent way by the Confe- 
derates had been repaired. 

We had not proceeded far when I 
observed an old friend of mine, Mr. M., 



of Baltimore, a gentleman whose sympa- 
tliies were strongly enlisted on the side of 
the South. At my request he took a seat 
beside me, and, after we had conversed for 
some time upon indifferent topics, he told 
me in a whisper that he had a small 
Confederate flag concealed about his 

" Manage to give it me," I said : "I am 
already a prisoner; besides, free or in 
chains, I shall always glory in the posses- 
sion of the emblem." 

Mr. M. watched his opportunity, and, 
when all eyes were turned from us, he 
stealthily and quickly drew the little flag 
from his bosom and placed it in my hand. 

We had eluded the vigilance of the 
officer under whose surveillance I was 
travelling ; and I leave my readers to ima- 
gine his surprise when I drew it forth from 
my pocket, and, with a laugh, waved it 

h 2 


over our heads with a gesture of triumph. 
It was a daring action, but my captivity 
had, I think, superadded the courage of 
despair to the hardihood I had already 
acquired in my country's service. 

The first emotions of the Federal officer 
and his men were those of indignation; 
but better feelings succeeded, and they 
allowed it was an excellent joke that a 
convoy of Confederate prisoners should be 
brought in under a Confederate flag, and 
that flag raised by a lady. 

Upon our arrival at Baltimore I was 
taken to the Eutaw House, one of the 
largest and best hotels in the city, where, 
I must in justice say, I was treated with 
all possible courtesy and consideration, and 
permission to see my friends was at once 
and spontaneously granted. 

As soon as it was known that I was in 
Baltimore, a prisoner and alone, I was 


visited not merely by ray personal friends, 
but by those who knew me by reputation 
only ; for Baltimore is Confederate to its 
heart's core. 

I remained a prisoner in the Eutaw 
House about a week ; at the expiration of 
which time General Dix, the officer in 
command, having heard nothing- against 
me, decided to send me home. I arrived 
safely at Martinsburg, which was now 
occupied in force by the Federal troops. 

Here I was placed under a strict surveil- 
lance, and forbidden to leave the town. I 
was incessantly watched and persecuted ; 
and at last the restrictions imposed upon 
me became so irksome and vexatious that 
my mother resolved to intercede with 
Major Walker, the Provost-Marshal, on my 
behalf. The result of this intercession was 
that he granted us both a pass, by way of 
Winchester, to Front Royal, with a view 


to my being sent on to join my relations at 

Upon arriving at Winchester we had 
much difficulty in getting permission to 
proceed; for General Shields had just 
occupied Front Royal, and had prohibited 
all intercourse between that place and 
Winchester. However, Lieutenant-Colonel 
Fillebrowne, of the 10th Maine Regiment, 
who was acting as Provost-Marshal, at 
length relented, and allowed us to go on 
our way. 

It was almost twilight when we arrived at 
the Shenandoah River. We found that the 
bridges had been destroyed, and no means 
of transport left but a ferry-boat, which the 
Yankees monopolized for their own exclu- 
sive purposes. 

Here we should have been subjected to 
much inconvenience and delay, had it not 
been for the courtesy and kindness of 


Captain Everhart, through whose interven- 
tion we were enabled to cross at once. 

It was quite dark when we reached the 
village, and, to our great surprise, we 
found the family domiciled in a little cot- 
tage in the court-yard, the residence having 
been appropriated by General Shields and 
his staff- 
However, we were glad enough to find 
ourselves at our journey's end, and to sit 
down to a comfortable dinner, for which 
fatigue and a long fast had sharpened our 
appetite. As soon as we had satisfied our 
hunger I sent in my card to General 
Shields, who promptly returned my mis- 
sive in person. He was an Irishman, and 
endowed with all those graces of manner 
for which the better class of his country- 
men are justly famous, nor was he devoid 
of the humour for which they are no less 


To my application for leave to pass 
instanter through his lines, en route for 
Kichmond, he replied that old Jackson's 
army was so demoralized that he dared 
not trust me to their tender mercies, but 
that they would be annihilated within a few 
days, and after such a desirable consumma- 
tion I might wander whither I would. 

This of course was mere badinage on his 
part ; but I am convinced he felt confident 
of immediate and complete success, or he 
would not have allowed some expressions 
to escape him which I turned to account. 
In short, he was completely off his guard, 
and forgot that a woman can sometimes 
listen and remember. 

General Shields introduced me to the 
officers of his staff, two of whom were 
young Irishmen ; and to one of these, 
Captain K., I am indebted for some 
very remarkable effusions, some withered 


flowers, and last, not least, for a great deal 
of very important information, which was 
carefully transmitted to my countrymen. 
I must avow the flowers and the poetry 
were comparatively valueless in my eyes ; 
but let Captain K. be consoled : these were 
days of war, not of love, and there are still 
other ladies in the world besides the " rebel 

The night before the departure of General 
Shields, who was about, as he informed us, 
to "whip" Jackson, a council of war was 
held in what had formerly been my aunt's 
drawing-room. Immediately above this 
was a bed-chamber, containing a closet, 
through the floor of which I observed a 
hole had been bored, whether with a view 
to espionage or not I have never been able 
to ascertain. It occurred to me, however, 
that I might turn the discovery to account ; 
and, as soon as the council of war had 


assembled, I stole softly up-stairs, and, 
lying down on the floor of the closet, applied 
my ear to the hole, and found, to my great 
joy, I could distinctly hear the conversation 
that was passing below. 

The council prolonged their discussion for 
some hours ; but I remained motionless and 
silent until the proceedings were brought to 
a conclusion, at one o'clock in the morning. 
As soon as the coast was clear I crossed 
the court-yard, and made the best of my 
way to my own room, and took down in 
cypher everything I had heard which 
seemed to me of any importance. 

I felt convinced that to rouse a ser- 
vant, or make any disturbance at that 
hour, would excite the suspicions of the 
Federals by whom I was surrounded; 
accordingly I went straight to the stables 
myself, saddled my horse, and galloped 
away in the direction of the mountains. 


Fortunately I had about me some passes 
which I had from time to time procured 
for Confederate soldiers returning south, 
and which, owing to various circumstances, 
had never been put in requisition. They 
now, however, proved invaluable ; for I was 
twice brought to a stand-still by the chal- 
lenge of the Federal sentries, and who 
would inevitably have put a period to my 
adventurous career had they not been be- 
guiled by my false passport. Once clear 
of the chain of sentries, I dashed on un- 
questioned across fields and along roads, 
through fens and marshes, until, after a 
scamper of about fifteen miles, I found my- 
self at the door of Mr. M.'s house. All was 
still and quiet : not a light was to be seen. 
I did not lose a moment in springing from 
my horse; and, running up the steps, I 
knocked at the door with such vehemence 
that the house re-echoed with the sound. 


It was not until I had repeated my sum- 
mons, at intervals of a few seconds, for some 
time, that I heard the response, " Who is 
there?" given in a sharp voice from a 
window above. 

" It is I." 

' l But who are you ? What is your name?" 

" Belle Boyd. I have important intel- 
ligence to communicate to Colonel Ashby : 
is he here ?" 

"No; but wait a minute: I will come 

The door was opened, and Mrs. M. drew 
me in, and exclaimed, in a tone of astonish- 
ment — 

" My dear, where did you come from? 
u and how on earth did you get here ?" 

" Oh, I forced the sentries," I replied, 
" and here I am ; but I have no time to tell 
the how, and the why, and the wherefore. 
I must see Colonel Ashby without the loss 


of a minute : tell me where he is to be 

Upon hearing that his party was a quarter 
of a mile farther up the wood, I turned to 
depart in search of them, and was in the 
very act of remounting when a door on my 
right was thrown open, and revealed Colonel 
Ashby himself, who could not conceal his 
surprise at seeing me standing before him. 

" Good God! Miss Belle, is this you? 
Where did you come from? Have you 
dropped from the clouds ? or am I dream- 

I first convinced him he was wide awake, 
and that my presence was substantial and 
of the earth — not a visionary emanation 
from the world of spirits — then, without 
further circumlocution, I proceeded to nar- 
rate all I had overheard in the closet, of 
which I have before made mention. I gave 
him the cypher, and started on my return. 


I arrived safely at my aunt's house, after 
a two hours' ride, in the course of which I 
"ran the blockade" of a sleeping sentry, who 
awoke to the sound of my horse's hoofs just 
in time to see me disappear round an abrupt 
turning, which shielded me from the bullet 
he was about to send after me. Upon 
getting home, I unsaddled my horse and 
"turned in" — if I may be permitted the 
expression, which is certainly expressive 
rather than refined' — just as Aurora, spring- 
ing from the rosy bed of Tithonus, began 
her pursuit of the flying hour; in plain 
English, just as day began to break. 

A few days afterwards General Shields 
marched south, laying a trap, as he sup- 
posed, to catch " poor old Jackson and his 
demoralized army," leaving behind him, 
to occupy Front Royal, one squadron of 
cavalry, one field battery, and the 1st 
Maryland Regiment of Infantry, under 


command of Colonel Kenly ; Major Tyn- 
dale, of Philadelphia, being appointed 

My mother returned home, and it was 
arranged that I should remain with my 
grandmother until an opportunity of tra- 
velling south in safety should present 
itself. Within a few days after my mo- 
ther's departure, my cousin Alice and I 
applied to Major Tyndale for a pass to 
Winchester. He at first declined to comply 
with our request, but afterwards relented, 
and promised to let us have the necessary 
passport on the following day. Accord- 
ingly, next morning, May 21st, my cousin 
one of the servants and myself were up 
betimes, and equipped for the journey, 
the carriage was at the door, but no 
passes made their appearance ; and when 
we sent to inquire for the Major we were 
informed he had gone " out on a scout,'' 


and would probably not be back until 
late at night. We were, of course, in 
great perplexity, when, to our relief, 
Lieutenant H., belonging to the squadron 
of cavalry stationed in the village, made 
his appearance and asked what was the 

I explained our case and said — 

" Now, Lieutenant H., I know you have 
permission to go to Winchester, and you 
profess to be a great friend of mine : prove 
it by assisting me out of this dilemma, and 
pass us through the pickets." 

This I knew he could easily manage, 
as they were furnished from his own 

After a few moments' hesitation, Lieu- 
tenant H. consented, little thinking of the 
consequences that were to ensue. He 
mounted the box, my cousin, myself, and 
the servant got inside, and off we set. 


Shortly before we got to Winchester, 
Lieutenant H. got down from his seat with 
the intention of walking the rest of the 
way, as he had some business at the camp, 
which was close to the town. 

Finding we could not return the same 
day, we agreed to remain all night with 
some friends. 

Early next morning a gentleman of 
high social position came to the house 
at which we were staying, and handed 
me two packages of letters, with these 
words : — 

" Miss Boyd, will you take these letters 
and send them through the lines to the 
Confederate army? This package," he 
added, pointing to one of them, " is of 
great importance : the other is trifling in 
comparison. This also," he went on to 
say, pointing to what appeared to be a 
little note, " is a very important paper: 

VOL. I. I 


try to send it carefully and safely to Jack- 
son, or some other responsible Confederate 
officer. Do you understand ?" 

"I do, and will obey your orders 
promptly and implicitly," I replied. 

As soon as the gentleman had left me I 
concealed the most important documents 
about the person of my negro servant, as 
I knew that " intelligent contrabands" — 
i.e., ladies and gentlemen of colour — were 
" non-suspects," and had carte llanche to 
do what they pleased, and to go where 
they liked, without hindrance or molesta- 
tion on the part of the Yankee autho- 
rities. The less important package I 
placed in a little basket, and unguardedly 
wrote upon the back of it the words, 
a Kindness of Lieutenant H." 

The small note upon which so much 
stress had been laid I resolved to carry 
with my own hands; and, knowing Colonel 


Fillebrowne was never displeased by a 
little flattery and a few delicate attentions, 
I went to the florist and chose a very 
handsome bouquet, which I sent to him 
with my compliments, and with a request 
that he would be so kind as to permit me 
to return to Front Royal.* 

The Colonel's answer was in accordance 
with the politeness of his nature. He 

* My readers must bear in mind that, in time of war, 
it is almost impossible to travel the slightest distance 
•without a pass signed by some official. On one occasion, 
when a picket was stationed between our farm -yard and 
the dahy, the dairy-maid was not allowed to milk the 
cows without a pass signed by the officer of the day. This 
was a decided nuisance, and I hit upon the following plan 
to get rid of it. I wrote the following pass and got it duly 
signed : ' ' These cows have permission to pass to and from 
the yard and dairy for the purpose of being milked twice 
a day, until further orders." This pass I pasted between 
the horns of one of the cows ; and I was gratified to find 
it had the desired effect, for they were not again stopped 
on their harmless errand ; and whenever my pass came off 
the head of the cow I took care to replace it by another 
in the same style. 

I 2 


thanked the " dear lady for so sweet a 
compliment," and enclosed the much- 
coveted pass. Lieutenant H., having 
finished his business at the camp, rejoined 
our party, and we all set out on our return. 
Nothing happened until we reached the 
picket-lines, when two repulsive-looking 
fellows, who proved to be detectives, rode 
up, one on each side of the carriage. 

" We have orders to arrest you," said 
one of them, looking in at the window, 
and addressing himself to me. 

" For what ?" I asked. 

" Upon suspicion of having letters," he 
replied ; then, turning to the coachman, 
he ordered him to drive back forthwith 
to Colonel Beale's head-quarters. Upon 
arriving there we were desired to get out 
and walk into the office. 

My cousin trembled like a poor bird 
caught in a snare; and, to tell the truth, 


I felt very much, discomposed myself, 
although I did not for a moment lose my 
presence of mind, upon the preservation of 
which I well knew our only hopes rested. 
The negress, almost paralyzed by fear, 
followed my cousin and myself, and it was 
in this order we were ushered into the 
awful presence of our inquisitor and judge. 

The first question asked was, had I any 
letters. I knew that if I said No, our 
persons would be immediately searched, 
and my falsehood detected ; I therefore 
drew out from the bottom of the basket 
the package I had placed there, and 
which, it will be remembered, was of 
minor importance, and handed it, with a 
bow, to the Colonel. 

" What !" exclaimed he, in an angry 
tone — " what is this ? ' Kindness of Lieu- 
tenant H.' ! what does this mean ? Is 
this all you have ?" 


" Look for yourself," I replied, turning 
the basket upside down, and emptying its 
contents upon the floor. 

"As to this scribbling on the letter," I 
continued, "it means nothing; it was a 
thoughtless act of mine. I assure you 
Lieutenant H. knew nothing about the 
letter, or that it was in my possession." 

The Lieutenant turned very pale, for it 
suddenly occurred to him that he had in 
his pocket a little package which I had 
asked him to carry for me. 

He immediately drew it out and threw 
it upon the table, when, to his consterna- 
tion, and to the surprise of the Colonel, it 
was found to be inscribed with the very 
identical words — " Kindness of Lieutenant 
H." — which had already excited the sus- 
picions of the Federal commander. 

This made matters worse ; and when 
the package, upon being opened, disclosed 


a copy of that decidedly rebel newspaper 
" The Maryland News-sheet," the Colonel 
entertained no farther doubt of Lieutenant 
H.'s complicity and guilt. 

It was in vain I asserted his innocence, 
and repeated again and again that it was 
impossible he could know that a folded 
packet contained an obnoxious journal, and 
that it was highly improbable, to say the 
least of it, he could be an accomplice in my 
possession of the letter. 

" What is that you have in your hand ?" 
was the only reply to my remonstrances 
and expostulations on behalf of the unfor- 
tunate officer I had so unintentionally be- 

" What — this little scrap of paper ? 
You can have it if you wish : it is nothing. 
Here it is ;" and I approached nearer to 
him, with the seeming intention of placing 
it in his hand : but I had taken the resolu- 


tion of following the example set by Harvey 
Birch, in Cooper's well-known novel of 
" The Spy," in the event of my being posi- 
tively commanded to u stand and deliver." 

Fortunately, however, for me, the 
Colonel's wrath was diverted from the 
guilty to the guiltless : he was so incensed 
with Lieutenant H. that he forgot the ver}^ 
existence of Belle Boyd, and the precious 
note was left in my possession. 

We were then and there dismissed, 
Colonel Beale contenting himself with 
giving a hurried order to the effect that I 
was to be closely watched. He then pro- 
ceeded to the investigation of Lieutenant 
H.'s case. Bare suspicion was the worst 
that could be urged against him, yet, upon 
this doubtful evidence, or rather in the 
absence of anything like evidence, a court- 
martial, composed of officers of the Federal 
army, dismissed him from the service. 


Some time after the adventure I have 
just related the secret of our arrest trans- 

A servant had observed the gentleman 
to whom I have alluded give me the letter 
in my friend's house at Winchester. He 
gave information, and the result was, a 
telegram was sent to Major Tyndale, who 
was already incensed against me for hav- 
ing slipped through the pickets and got 
to Winchester without his pass. He com- 
municated at once with Colonel Beale, and 
our arrest followed as I have described. 

Had it not been for the curious manner 
in which Lieutenant H. was involved in 
the affair, and in which that unoffending- 
officer was so unjustly treated, very much 
to my regret, I should not have escaped so 



My Prisoner— Battle of 23rd May— My Share in the 
Action — The Federals Fire upon me — The Little Note 
once more — The Confederates are Victorious — Letter 
from General Stonewall Jackson. 

Among the Federals who then occupied 
Front Royal was one Mr. Clark, a reporter 
to the "New York Herald," and, although 
an Irishman, by no means a gentleman. 

He was domiciled at head-quarters, 
which were established, as I have before 
mentioned, at my aunt's residence; and 
thus it was that I saw him daily, for we 
could not possibly get into the street with- 


out crossing the court-yard and passing 
through the hall way. 

This Mr. Clark endeavoured upon 
several occasions to intrude his society 
upon me; and, although I told him 
plainly his advances were extremely dis- 
tasteful, he persevered so far that I was 
forced more than once to bolt the door of 
the room in which my cousin and myself 
were seated, in his face. 

These rebuffs he never forgave, and 
from an intrusive friend he became an in- 
veterate enemy. It is to him I am in- 
debted for the first violent, undisguised 
abuse with which my name was coupled in 
any Federal journal; but I must do the 
editors of the Yankee newspapers the jus- 
tice to admit they were not slow to follow 
the example set them by Mr. Clark. They 
seemed to think that to insult an innocent 
young girl was to prove their manhood 


and evince their patriotism. I think my 
English readers will neither admire their 
taste nor applaud their spirit. 

On the evening of the 23rd May I was 
sitting at the window of our room, reading 
to my grandmother and cousin, when one 
of the servants rushed in, and shouted, or 
rather shrieked — 

" Oh, Miss Belle, I t'inks de revels am 
a-comin', for de Yankees are a-makin' orful 
fuss in de street." 

I immediately sprang from my seat and 
went to the door, and I then found that 
the servant's report was true. The streets 
were thronged with Yankee soldiers, hur- 
rying about in every direction in the great- 
est confusion. 

I asked a Federal officer, who just then 
happened to be passing by, what was the 
matter. He answered that the Confederates 
were approaching the town in force, under 


Generals Jackson and Ewell, that they had 
surprised and captured the outside pickets, 
and had actually advanced within a mile 
of the town, without the attack being even 

" Now," he added, "we are endeavour- 
ing to get the ordnance and the quarter- 
master's stores out of their reach." 

" But what will you do," I asked, "with 
the stores in the large depot ?" 

" Burn them, of course !" 

"But suppose the rebels come upon you 
too quickly ?" 

" Then we will fight as long as we can 
by any possibility show a front, and in the 
event of defeat make good our retreat upon 
Winchester, burning the bridges as soon as 
we cross them, and finally effect a j miction 
with General Banks' force." 

I parted with the Federal officer, and, 
returning to the house, I began to walk 


quietly up-stairs, when suddenly I heard 
the report of a rifle, and almost at the 
same moment I encountered Mr. Clark, 
who, in his rapid descent from his room, 
very nearly knocked me down. 

" Great heavens ! what is the matter?" 
he ejaculated, as soon as he had regained 
his breath, which the concussion and fright 
had deprived him of. 

"Nothing to speak of," said I; "only 
the rebels are coming, and you had best 
prepare yourself for a visit to Libby 

He answered not a word, but rushed back 
to his room and commenced compressing 
into as small a compass as possible all 
the manuscripts upon which he so much 
plumed himself, and upon which he relied 
for fame and credit with the illustrious 
journal to which he was contributor. It 
was his intention to collect and secure 


these inestimable treasures, and then to 

I immediately went for my opera-glasses, 
and, on my way to the balcony in front of 
the house, from which position I intended 
to reconnoitre, I was obliged to pass Mr. 
Clark's door. It was open, but the key 
was on the outside. The temptation of 
making a Yankee prisoner was too strong 
to be resisted, and, yielding to the impulse, 
I quietly locked in the " Special Corre- 
spondent" of the "New York Herald." 

After this feat I hurried to the balcony, 
and, by the aid of my glasses, descried the 

* This American cant term is exactly rendered into 
English by the phrase " to hook it." Slang is now so well 
understood that I apprehend few of my readers require to 
be told that "to hook it" signifies to make off, to run 
away. Our Transatlantic expression can boast, I believe, 
of the earlier derivation. The meaning of EKeSduvvfii, the 
root of which is sleeJa, was, I am told, understood in that 
early age in which were recorded the wrath of Achilles 
and the patriotism of Hector. 


advance guard of the Confederates at the 
distance of about three-quarters of a mile, 
marching rapidly upon the town. 

To add to my anxiety, my father, who 
was at that time upon General Garnett's 
staff, was with them. My heart beat 
alternately with hope and fear. I was not 
ignorant of the trap the Yankees had set 
for my friends. I was in possession of 
much important information, which if I 
could only contrive to convey to General 
Jackson, I knew our victory would be 
secure. Without it I had every reason to 
anticipate defeat and disaster. 

The intelligence I was in possession of 
instructed me that General Banks was at 
Strasbourg with four thousand men, that 
the small force at Winchester could be 
readily reinforced by General White, who 
was at Harper's Ferry, and that Generals 
Shields and Geary were a short distance 


below Front Royal, while Fremont was 
beyond the Valley ; further, and this was 
the vital point, that it had been decided all 
these separate divisions should co-operate 
against General Jackson. 

I again went down to the door, and this 
time I observed, standing about in groups, 
several men who had always professed 
attachment to the cause of the South. I 
demanded if there was one among them 
who would venture to carry to General 
Jackson the information I possessed. 
They all with one accord said, " No, no. 
You go." 

I did not stop to reflect. My heart, 
though beating fast, was not appalled. I 
put on a white sun-bonnet, and started at 
a run down the street, which was thronged 
with Federal officers and men. I soon 
cleared the town and gained the open 
fields, which I traversed with unabated 

VOL. I. K 


speed, hoping to escape observation until 
such time as I could make good my way to 
the Confederate line, which was still rapidly 

I had on a dark blue dress,* with a little 
fancy white apron over it; and this contrast 
of colours, being visible at a great distance, 
made me far more conspicuous than was 
just then agreeable. The skirmishing be- 
tween the outposts was sharp. The main 
forces of the opposing armies were disposed 
as follows : — ■ 

The Federals had placed their artillery 
upon a lofty eminence, which commanded 
the road by which the Confederates were 
advancing. Their infantry occupied in 
force the hospital buildings, which were of 
great size, and sheltered by which they 
kept up an incessant fire. 

* This dress was afterwards cut up into two shirts for 
two wounded Confederate soldiers. 


The Confederates were in line directly 
in front of the hospital, into which their 
artillerymen were throwing shells with 
deadly precision ; for the Yankees had 
taken this as a shelter, and were firing 
upon the Confederate troops from the 

At tins moment the Federal pickets, who 
were rapidly falling back, perceived me 
still running as fast as I was able, and 
immediately fired upon me. 

My escape was most providential ; 
for, although I was not hit, the rifle-balls 
flew thick and fast about me, and more 
than one struck the ground so near my 
feet as to throw the dust in my eyes. 
Nor was this all : the Federals in the 
hospital seeing in what direction the shots 
of their pickets were aimed, followed the 
example and also opened fire upon me. 

Upon this occasion my life was spared 

K 2 


by what seemed to me then, and seems 
still, little short of a miracle ; for, besides 
the numerous bullets that whistled by my 
ears, several actually pierced different 
parts of my clothing-, but not one reached 
my body. Besides all this, I was exposed 
to a cross fire from the Federal and 
Confederate artillery, whose shot and 
shell flew whistling and hissing over my 

At length a Federal shell struck the 
ground within twenty yards of my feet; 
and the explosion, of course, sent the 
fragments flying in every direction around 
me. I had, however, just time to throw 
myself flat upon the ground before the 
deadly engine burst ; and again Providence 
spared my life. 

Springing up when the danger was 
passed, I pursued my career, still under a 
heavy fire. I shall never run again as I 


ran on that, to me, memorable day. Hope, 
fear, the love of life, and the determination 
to serve my country to the last, conspired 
to fill my heart with more than feminine 
courage, and to lend preternatural strength 
and swiftness to my limbs. I often marvel 
and even shudder when I reflect how 
I cleared the fields and bounded over 
the fences with the agility of a deer. 

As I neared our line I waved my bonnet 
to our soldiers, to intimate that they should 
press forward, upon which one regiment, 
the 1st Maryland "rebel" Infantry, and 
Hay's Louisiana Brigade, gave me a loud 
cheer, and, without waiting for further 
orders, dashed upon the town at a rapid 

They did not then know who I was, and 
they were naturally surprised to see a 
woman on the battle-field, and on a spot, 
too, where the fire was so hot. Their shouts 


of approbation and triumph rang in my 
ears for many a day afterwards, and I still 
hear them not unfrequently in my dreams. 

At this juncture the main body of the 
Confederates was hidden from my view 
by a slight elevation which intervened 
between me and them. My heart almost 
ceased to beat within me ; for the dreadful 
thought arose in my mind that our force 
must be too weak to be any match for the 
Federals, and that the gallant men who 
had just been applauding me were rushing 
upon a certain and fruitless death. I 
accused myself of having urged them to 
their fate; and now, quite overcome by 
fatigue and by the feelings which tor- 
mented me, I sank upon my knees and 
offered a short but earnest prayer to Grod. 

Then I felt as if my supplication was 
answered, and that I was inspired with 
fresh spirits and a new life. Not only 


despair, but fear also forsook me; and I 
had again no thought but how to fulfil 
the mission I had already pursued so 

I arose from my kneeling posture, and 
had proceeded but a short distance, when, 
to my unspeakable, indescribable joy, I 
caught sight of the main body fast ap- 
proaching ; and soon an old friend and 
connection of mine, Major Harry Douglas, 
rode up, and, recognising me, cried out, 
while he seized my hand — 

" Good God, Belle, you here ! what is 

u Oh, Harry," I gasped out, " give me 
time to recover my breath." 

For some seconds I could say no more ; 
but, as soon as I had sufficiently recovered 
myself, I produced the "little note," and 
told him all, urging him to hurry on the 
cavalry, with orders to them to seize the 


bridges before the retreating Federals 
should have time to destroy them. 

He instantly galloped off to report to 
General Jackson, who immediately rode for- 
ward, and asked me if I would have an 
escort and a horse wherewith to return to 
the village. I thanked him, and said, u No; 
I would go as I came ;" and then, acting 
upon the information I had been spared 
to convey, the Confederates gained a most 
complete victory. 

Though the depot building had been 
fired, and was burning, our cavalry reached 
the bridges barely in time to save them 
from destruction: the retreating Federals 
had just crossed, and were actually upon the 
point of lighting the slow match which, 
communicating with the bursting charge, 
would have riven the arches in pieces. 
So hasty was their retreat that they left all 
their killed and wounded in our hands. 


Although we lost many of our best and 
bravest — among others the gallant Captain 
Sheetes, of Ashby's cavalry, who fell 
leading a brilliant and successful charge 
upon the Federal infantry — the day was 
ours ; and I had the heartfelt satisfaction 
to know that it was in consequence or the 
informational hacL conyeyed at such risk 
to myself General Jackson made the flank 
movement which led to such fortunate 

And here let me pause a moment to do 
justice to the memory of a brave enemy, 
Colonel Kenly, who commanded the Fede- 
rals, and who fought at their head with the 
courage of desperation, until he fell mortally 

The Confederates, following up their 
victory, crossed the river by the still 
standing bridges, and pushed on by the 
road which led to Winchester. 


General Banks was startled from his lair 
at Strasbourg, and, leaving everything but 
his own head and a handful of cavalry 
behind him, with the victorious Confe- 
derates in hot pursuit, rushed through 
Winchester and Martinsburg, and finally 
crossed the river at Williamsport, Mary- 
land ; and it is said that he and his 
command have never stopped running 

During "this hasty flight General. Banks 
halted for a few minutes to take breath in 
the main street of Martinsburg. Upon 
the side-walk were standing many children 
and young girls, among whom was my 
little sister. 

One of these girls, recognising General 
Banks' aide-de-camp, walked up to him and 
said — 

" Captain, how long are you going to 
stay here ?" 


Until Gabriel blows his horn," replied 


To this mistimed vaunt my sister quietly 
rejoined, looking full in his face as she 
spoke — 

"Ah, Captain, if you were to hear 
Jackson's horn just outside the town, you 
would not wait for Gabriel's." 

Nor did they wait ; for the echo of the 
Confederate General's bugles had little 
less terror for them than the sound of the 
archangel's trump. 

When I first returned from the battle- 
field, tired, or, to say the truth, utterly 
enervated and exhausted, the Confederates 
were filing through the town, and the 
enthusiastic hurrahs with which they 
greeted me didjnore than anything else 
could have done to revive my droop- 
ing spirits and restore my failing powers. 
The dead and wounded were now being 


brought in, and our house soon became a 

Notwithstanding my fatigue, I contrived 
to render some assistance in dressing the 
wounds and alleviating the sufferings of 
our poor soldiers, who consoled themselves 
in their agonies with the reflection that 
they had done their duty nobly, and that 
their pangs were not embittered by the 
sting and remorse with which defeat 
always torments a true soldier. 

Among the dead who were brought next 
day to our house for interment were Cap- 
tains Sheetes, Baxter, and Thaxter, all of 
Ashby's cavalry, and Major Davis, of 

JTo my great j oy_ _my-father came safe 
. out of the battle, with but a very slight 
wound in tKe leg. 

All the Federals left in Front Royal 
were captured ; among them my particular 


friend Mr. Clark, who, upon endeavour- 
ing to leave his room unseen during the 
confusion, found himself locked in. 

I afterwards heard an amusing account 
of the manner in which he extricated him- 
self by letting himself down from the win- 
dow ; this, however, was unfortunately a 
work of time, and the delay was the cause 
of his capture. He was being escorted a 
prisoner down the street, when, catching 
sight of me as I stood upon the door-step, 
he shouted out — 

" I'll make you rue this : it's your doing 
that I am a prisoner here." 

During the battle, and while Colonel 
Fillebrowne was preparing to remove his 
effects from Winchester, a gentleman of 
high social position and Southern pro- 
clivities stepped into his office and said, 
" Colonel, how on earth did you get into 
such a trap ? Did you know nothing of 


the advance of tlie Confederates ?" Colonel 
Fillebrowne turned, and, pointing to the 
bouquet I had sent him only a day or two 
before, he said, u That bouquet did all the 
mischief: the donor of that gift is re- 
sponsible/or all this misfortune." 

I could not but be aware that I had 
been of some service to my country ; and 
I had the further satisfaction of feeling 
that neither a desire of fame nor notoriety 
had been my motive for enacting the role 
I did in this sad drama. I was not pre- 
pared, however, for that recognition of my 
services which was received on the very 
day they were rendered, and which I here 
transcribe : — 

" May 23rd, 1862. 
"Miss Belle Boyd, 

"I thank you, for myself and for the army, for 

the immense service that you have rendered your country 


** Hastily, I am your Friend, 

"T.J. Jackson, O.S. A." i 


This short note, which was written at 
Mr. Richards' house, very near Front 
Royal, was brought to me by a courier, 
and I am free to confess I value it 
far beyond anything I possess in the 

The object General Jackson had in view 
was too important to admit of his leaving 
behind him an adequate force for the pro- 
tection of Front Royal ; one regiment, the 
12th Georgia Infantry, was all that could be 
spared; and thus Front Royal was retaken 
by the Federals just one week after its 
brilliant capture by our troops. 

During our short possession of the town 
there was, among the prisoners taken 
in the pursuit beyond the river and sent 
back into our custody, a woman who 
represented herself to be the wife of a 
soldier belonging to the Michigan cavalry. 
She was handed over to me, and I fur- 


nished her with clothing, and did all that 
lay in my power to make her comfortable 
and happy. 

Upon the arrival of the Federals, tinder 
General Geary, most of the 12th Georgia 
were taken prisoners, together with all the 
sick and wounded. 

The woman of whom I have just spoken 
was of course liberated, and the first use 
she made of her freedom was to report me 
to General Kimball as a most dangerous 
rebel, and a malignant enemy to the 
Federal Government. 

The General immediately placed me 
under arrest, and surrounded our house 
with sentries, so that to escape was actually 
impossible. Within a few hours, however, 
after my incarceration General Shields 
arrived, and, being senior in the service 
to General Kimball, naturally superseded 
him in the command of the army. He at 



once released me,, and I thank him for his 
urbanity and kindness. 

Rumours soon reached us to the effect 
that the Confederate army was retreating 
up the Valley, and once more all this por- 
tion of the country fell into the hands of 
the Yankees. 

vol. h 

146 • BELLE BOYD, 


Tone of the Northern Press towards me — General Banks 
refuses to pass rae south — How I procure Passes — ■ 
The two Confederate Soldiers — 1 write to ' ' Stonewall 
Jackson " — Novel method of conveying Information — 
My Letter is Intercepted — I am warned to depart 
south without delay — I prepare to leave. 

The Northern journals vied with one an- 
other in publishing the most extravagant 
and improbable accounts of my exploits, 
as they were pleased to term them, on the 
battle-field of the 23rd May. 

One ascribed to " Belle Boyd" the 
honour of having directed the fire of the 



Confederate artillery throughout the action; 
another represented her as having, by the 
force of her genius, sustained the waver- 
ing counsels of the Southern generals ; 
while a third described her as having, 
sword in hand, led on the whole of the 
attacking line to the capture of Front. 
Royal; but as I believe that the veracity 
of the Yankee press is pretty well known 
and appreciated, I shall give no more ex- 
tracts from their eloquent pages. 

At the conclusion of the last chapter 
I mentioned that General Shields released 
me from the arrest under which General 
Kimball had placed me, upon the report 
of the ungrateful ci-devant prisoner ; and, 
after a short time, finding no further per- 
secution was resorted to, I thought the 
opportunity favourable for making an at- 
tempt to get south. 

Meanwhile General Banks had returned, 

l 2 


and encamped close to the town, making 
my aunt's house his head-quarters. 

It was to him, therefore, I applied for 
permission to depart. 

" Where do you wish to go ?" he asked. 

" To Louisiana, where my aunt resides." 

" But what will Virginia do without 
you ?" 

" What do you mean, General ?" 

" We always miss our bravest and most 
illustrious, and how can your native State 
do without you ?" 

I laughingly thanked him for the com- 
pliment, and he conversed with the utmost 
good nature and pleasantry upon the part 
that I had taken in his recent defeat. Though 
a rabid Abolitionist, the General was cer- 
tainly one of the most affable gentlemen I 
have ever met. 

Several weeks passed by in peace and 
quiet, unmarked by any incident worthy of 


record, and at the expiration of this period 
Front Royal was again evacuated by the 
Federal troops, with the exception of the 
3rd Delaware Infantry, which corps was 
left in garrison. Their colonel was a very 
large, coarse man, with the manners and 
appearance of a butcher rather than of an 

On the other hand, Major McEnnis and 
Lieutenant Preston, who officiated severally 
as Provost and Assistant-Provost Marshal, 
were upon all occasions not only courteous, 
but kind, the natural consequence of which 
behaviour was that they were both highly 
respected and esteemed by us "rebels." 

In the court-yard of the General's head- 
quarters, and at a few yards only from our 
cottage, they had pitched a flag tent, which 
served the purposes of their office, and here 
it was that all passes for the South were 
granted or refused, as the case might be. 


How many of these were procured upon 
false pretences and transferred to recruits 
on their way to join the Southern army, or 
fay whom this ingenious ruse was practised, 
/ shall not here say. 

I was one morning sitting in the draw- 
ing-room, when I noticed two men, dressed 
as Confederate soldiers, standing near the 
Provost-Marshal's tent. At my request 
my grandmother sent for the Major, who 
obeyed her summons without loss of time. 

We asked him who the men were. He 
told us they were paroled Confederate 
soldiers procuring passes to go south. We 
then asked if they might be permitted to 
dine with us, and received a ready assent. 
In the meantime they had disappeared, but 
one of them shortly reappearing, I accosted 
him thus : — 

lx Won't you dine with us ? the Major 
says you may." 


"With pleasure, if you dine shortly: I 
have only two or three hours allowed me 
to get beyond the pickets." 

" Poor fellow I" said I ; " but I am glad 
that you will soon be free. Won't you 
take a letter from me to General Jack- 
son ?" 

Upon his assenting to this request, I 
went off towards my own room to write 
my despatch ; but, as I was passing by the 
kitchen door, one of the servants stopped 
me suddenly, and exclaimed — 

" Miss Belle ! who's dat man yose a- 
talkin' to?" 

" I know no more about him than 
that he is a paroled rebel soldier going 

" Miss Belle, dat man ain't no rebel: I 
seen hini 'mong de Yankees in de street. 
If he is got Secesh clothes on, he ain't no 
Secesh. Can't fool Betsy dat way. Dat 


man 's a spy — dat man 's a spy. Please 
God, he am." 

I, however, entertained a different 
opinion from that of the negro woman, 
so I persevered in my intention, and 
wrote a long friendly letter to General 
Jackson. At the same time I introduced 
a great deal of valuable information con- 
cerning the Yankees, the state of their 
army, their movements and doings, and 
matters of a like nature. 

Disregarding the warning voice of my 
sable Cassandra, I fancied the man was true 
and might be safely trusted ; so as soon as 
dinner was finished I called him aside and 
confided the letter to him, with these words: — 

" Will you promise me faithfully, upon 
the honour of a soldier, to take the utmost 
care of this, and deliver it safe to General 
Jackson ? They tell me you are a spy, 
but I do not believe it." 


He, of course, denied the soft impeach- 
ment, and swore, by all the host of heaven, 
to execute my commission with fidelity and 

Reader, conceive my feelings when, 
shortly after this man's departure, one of 
the officers came in and informed me that 
he was a spy, and was on his way to the 
Confederate lines at Harrisburg. 

I immediately set about to rectify my 
unfortunate error, and, after some reflec- 
tion, I decided upon the following expe- 
dient : — 

I sat down and wrote Major Harry 
Gilmore, of the Confederate cavalry, a few 
lines, giving an accurate account of the 
man's personal appearance, and explaining 
the motive and circumstances of his journey 
south, and by what means I had been 
entrapped into trusting him with a letter 
for General Jackson. This note I de- 


spatclied by a conveyance to which we 
rebels had given the name of " the under- 
ground railway." 

The locomotive on this railway was an 
old negro, and the mail-car was an enor- 
mous silver watch from which the works 
had been extracted. I sent off my train, 
with orders that if, in passing the pickets, 
any one should inquire the time of day, 
the answer must be that the imposing- 
looking timepiece was out of order and 
had ceased to mark the horns and mi- 

Our friend the spy, however, went 
neither to Harrisburg nor to General 
Jackson, but made his way straight to 
the Federal General Siegel and gave him 
my letter. The General, in his turn, for- 
warded it to Stanton, the Secretary-at- 
War, who, I make no doubt, still retains it 
in his possession. 


The fate of the spy, like that of so many 
of his fraternity, was tragic. He was soon 
after detected in the pursuit of his calling 
on the Rappahannock, and hanged. My 
readers, perhaps, may think I ought to 
congratulate myself upon having hitherto 
escaped a similar fate. 

Shortly after this adventure an officer 
came and told me that further misconduct 
on my part might bring down upon me 
the severest punishment, and hinted that 
the Yankees, once thoroughly incensed, 
would not hesitate at the perpetration of 
any atrocity. 

Entertaining these views, he recom- 
mended my immediate departure ; and 
this kind advice meeting with the ap- 
proval of my grandmother, I gave my 
consent, and immediately my maid had 
orders to prepare for a journey to Rich- 
mond. It was on a Tuesday that the 


officer promised to get a pass, and we were 
to be sent through the lines on the next 
ensuing Thursday. But Fate had ordained 



I am Arrested by order of Mr. Stanton, Federal Secretary 
of War — My Eoom and Trunks are closely Searched 
— Yankee disregard for the rights of Personal Pro- 
perty — My Departure for "Washington — My Escort 
— I arrive at General "White's Head-quarters in 

It was on a lovely Wednesday evening 
that our firm and valued friend Lieutenant 
Preston, my cousin Alice, and myself were 
standing on the balcony, watching the last 
rays of the setting sun as it sank behind 
the western hills. 

Our conversation turned upon the 


divided and unhappy state of our country. 
We recalled the peaceful scenes and joyous 
days of the past, -which were so painfully 
contrasted by the present, and we were 
forced to agree that we had nothing to 
expect from the future but a continu- 
ance, if not an augmentation, of our 

In such gloomy forebodings, and in the 
interchange of apprehensions and regrets, 
we passed some time, and the twilight was 
fast deepening into gloom when we heard 
the sound of horses' hoofs ; and, straining 
our eyes through the darkness, we dis- 
cerned a large body of cavalry approaching 
the house. 

I immediately conceived the idea that 
it was a scouting-party on their way to 
the mountains with the design of surpris- 
ing Major Harry Gilm ore's cavalry, and 
feared that their enterprise would prove sue- 


cessful unless the Confederate officer should 
have timely notice of his danger. I ran at 
once to my room and wrote a hasty note, 
in which I communicated my suspicions 
to Major Gilmore, and warned him to be 
on his guard. 

This note I transmitted in the manner 
I have described in a previous chapter, by 
my ■" underground railway." After this 
feat I retired to bed, and slept quietly, 
undisturbed by any dream or vision of 
my approaching captivity. 

Next morning I rose early, and soon 
after breakfast T went to the cottage door, 
where I daily spent much of my time, 
watching the movements of the persons 
who, for various purposes, frequented head- 
quarters. I had not been long at my post 
when I observed several Yankee soldiers 
go into the coach-house. They imme- 
diately proceeded to drag out the carriage, 


and pull it up at the door of head-quarters, 
where they put to the horses. 

There was nothing very extraordinary 
in all this ; but in these anxious days the 
minds of all were in a perpetual state of 
tension, and a slight incident was sufficient 
to cause alarm. 

This may account for the strange feeling 
that came over me — an irrepressible desire 
to ascertain who was to be the occupant 
of the carriage, which was on the point of 
starting for a destination of which I was 

I walked out upon the balcony ; and, 
looking up and down the street, I saw that 
it was thronged with cavalry, the men 
dismounted, lounging about, and convers- 
ing with each other, in groups of twos 
and threes, evidently waiting for the 
expected order to mount. 
While I stood looking at this scene, not 


without interest and curiosity, one of the 
servants came to me and said — 

" Miss Belle, de Provo' wishes to see 
you in de drawing-room, and dere's two 
oder men wid him." 

I immediately went down-stairs, and, 
upon entering the room, I found the Major, 
whose face wore an expression of excite- 
ment and nervousness. There were, as 
the servant had said, two other men 
in the room with him : one, a tall, 
fine-looking man, was introduced to me 
by the name and title of Major Sher- 
man, of the 12th Illinois Cavalry ; the. 
other was low in stature, coarse in appear- 
ance, with a mean, vile expression of 
countenance, and a grizzly beard, which, 
it was evident, had not made the acquaint- 
ance of water or a comb for weeks at least. 
His small, restless eyes glanced here and 
there, with an expression of incessant 

VOL. I. M 


watchfulness and suspicion. All his fea- 
tures were repulsive in the extreme, de- 
noting a mixture of cowardice, ferocity, 
and cunning. In a word, his mien 
was unmistakably that of a finished 
villain, who was capable of perpetrating 
any act, however atrocious, when stimu- 
lated by the promise of a reward in 

This man was a good type of his order : 
he was one of Secretary Stanton's minions 
— a detective belonging to, and employed 
and paid by, that honourable branch of 
Mr. Lincoln's Government, the Secret 
Service Department. 

I had not been in the room more than 
a few moments when Major McEnnis 
turned to me and said — 

" Miss Boyd, Major Sherman has come 
to arrest you." 

" Impossible ! For what ?" I cried. 


Major Sherman here interposed, and, 
speaking in a very kind manner, assured 
me that, although the duty he had to per- 
form was painful to his feelings, he was, 
nevertheless, forced to execute the orders 
of the Secretary of War, Mr. Stanton ; 
and, as he finished speaking, the detective 
produced from his pocket the document, 
which I transcribe as nearly as I can 
recollect : — 

" War Department. 
" Snt, — You -will proceed immediately to Front Boyal, 
Virginia, and arrest, if found there, Miss Belle Boyd, 
and bring her at once to Washington. 
" I am, respectfully, 

' ' Tour obedient Servant, 

"E. M. Stanton." 

Such was the curt order that made me 
a prisoner ; and, as remonstrance would 
have been idle and. resistance vain, nothing 
was left for me but quiet, unconditional 

m 2 


The detective then informed me that 
it was his duty to examine all my lug- 

To this I could not do otherwise than 
assent, and only begged that a few minutes 
might be granted, to enable my servant 
to prepare my room, which was in great 
confusion, and that I might also be per- 
mitted to retire. I made this request to 
the detective, for it had not escaped my 
notice that Major Sherman was acting a 
subordinate part, and was virtually at 
the disposal and under the orders of the 

As no answer was returned to my ques- 
tion, I took it for granted I had tacit 
permission to withdraw ; but my disgust 
was great when, turning round upon the 
stairs, I saw my persecutor silently follow- 
ing at my heels. 

I stopped short, and said — 


*' Sir, will not you wait until I see if 
my room is in a suitable condition for you 
to enter ?" 

Tho reply was characteristic, though not 

"No, yer don't: I'm agoin' with yer. 
Yer* got some papers yer want to get rid 
on ;" and, with these words, he pushed 
violently past me, and hastily entered my 

My clothes were first seized, and searched 
with the utmost scrutiny. My dresses 
were examined closely, and, after being 
turned inside out, and distorted into all 
sorts of fantastic shapes, were flung in a 
pile upon the floor, much to the horror 
and amazement of my maid, who had 
employed a great part of the previous 
night in packing them safely and neatly, 
and who was at a loss to understand the 
meaning of such treatment, which appeared 


to her, naturally enough, so strange and 

My under-clothing next underwent an 
ordeal precisely similar to that which 
my upper garments had passed through ; 
and, finally, my desk and portfolio were 
discovered ; but here very fortunately 
my devoted servant came to the rescue 
with the promptitude and courage of a 

She well knew the value I attached to 
the contents of my portfolio, and made a 
shrewd guess as to how far they would 
compromise me with my captor and his 
employers. Acting upon a sudden im- 
pulse, she made a swoop upon the repo- 
sitory of the greatest part of the evidence 
that could be adduced against me ; and, 
rushing at headlong speed down-stairs, 
she gained the kitchen in time to burn 
all the papers it contained. But some 


important papers were, unfortunately, in 
my writing-desk, and these fell into the 
possession of the detective, who also, much 
to my regret, made prize of a handsome 
pistol, with belt and equipments complete, 
which had been presented to me on the 
4th July, by a Federal officer on the 
staff, as a token, he was pleased to say, 
of his admiration of the spirit I had 
.shown in defence of my mother and my 

It had always been my hope to have some 
day an opportunity of begging General 
Stonewall Jackson's acceptance of a present 
made to me, under very trying circum- 
stances, by a gallant and generous enemy ; 
but this could not be done. The pistol now 
occupies a conspicuous place in the War 
Department at Washington, and is entered 
in the catalogue of spoils in the following 
words: — 


"A trophy captured from the celebrated 
rebel Belle Boyd." 

Not contented with the seizure of my 
own papers, the emissary of Mr. Stanton 
proceeded to break open the private escri- 
toire of my uncle, who was a lawyer, and 
who had left it in my room for safe- 
keeping during his absence from Front 

The detective, bundling up the law- 
papers with mine, bade me, in the rough- 
est manner, and in the most offensive 
language, be prepared to start within half 
an hour. 

I asked permission to be indulged with 
the attendance of my maid; but this re- 
quest was refused, with imprecations, and 
she was only allowed to pack one trunk 
with apparel absolutely necessary to com- 
fort, if not to decency. Brief time was 
granted for the packing ; and, before many 


minutes, my solitary trunk was strapped to 
the back of the carriage. 

I then nerved myself, and, walking 
into the drawing-room, announced, in 
firm, unbroken accents, that I was ready 
to start. 

I preserved my composure unshaken ; 
although it was a hard trial to me to see 
my grandmother and cousin weeping pite- 
ously, and beseeching Major Sherman, in 
the most moving terms, to spare me. 
Their supplications were vain ; and the 
detective, stepping up close to my side, 
ordered me to get into the carriage forth- 

Then came the final parting, bitter 
enough, God knows; for I was being 
dragged from those to whom I was en- 
deared by the associations of my happy 
youth, no less than by the ties of nature, 
and consigned to the safe-keeping of a man 


whose countenance alone would have im- 
mediately convicted him of any crime of 
which he might anywhere have been 

My negro maid clasped her arms round 
my knees, and passionately implored per- 
mission to attend me. She was torn from 
me, and I was hurried into the carriage 
without any opportunity of further ex- 
postulation on the part of myself or my 

The news of my arrest had spread 
quickly, and the streets were by this time 
filled with soldiers and citizens of the 
town. As I stepped into the carriage, 
which for aught I knew was my funeral 
car, I cast a rapid but comprehensive 
glance upon the crowd collected to witness 
my departure and the demeanour I should 
sustain under such a trial. 

Upon many, nay, most of the faces that 


met niy gaze, sorrow and sympathy were 
written in unmistakable characters; but 
there were, nevertheless, some looks the 
expression of which was that of exultation 
and malignant triumph. 

I knew how closely I was watched by 
friend and foe, and I resolved neither to 
make myself an object of derision to the 
one, nor of pity to the other. Though my 
heart was throbbing, my eyes were dry ; 
not a muscle of my face quivered ; no out- 
ward sign betrayed the conflicting emo- 
tions that raffed within. 

I could not guess what fate was in store 
for me, but I felt that, if I might judge of 
the clemency of my captors by the bearing 
of their delegate, it would be the part of 
wisdom to steel my mind against the worst 
that could ensue. 

I was seated in the back of the carriage, 
and just as we started my evil genius 


mounted the driver's seat. In his hand 
he clutched a tin case which held the 
papers he had taken from my room, and, 
as he turned his ugly features round from 
time to time to scrutinize my looks, my 
imagination pictured him to me as the ill- 
omened incarnation of Satan himself. I 
could not help associating him with the 
idea of Edgar Poe's raven, and asking 
myself if the fancy of the poet was to be 
realized in my case, and the companion- 
ship of the bird was to cease only with my 

That these were the visions of a dis- 
turbed mind I am now quite willing to 
allow ; but if my readers will bear in mind 
that I was young; that I had just been 
torn from my friends ; that a long captivity 
appeared certain, and death not improba- 
ble ; that while either fate was in abeyance 
I was in the custody of a man whose cha- 


racter was clearly adapted to his odious 
calling, — they will not be surprised that 
during a few hours my reason tottered, 
and " horrible imaginings" got the better 
of my fortitude. 

My escort consisted of 450 cavalry, the 
officer in command of whom observed all 
the regular precautions prescribed by mili- 
tary law for a march through an enemy's 
country. In addition to the ordinary 
advance and rear guards, fifty scouts were 
detached in skirmishing order to protect 
our right from- surprise, and an equal num- 
ber to guard our left ; and in this order we 
advanced until about half our march was 
performed, and we reached an eminence 
which commanded a view of the country 
for several miles round. 

Here, at a dreary spot, the cavalcade 
was brought to a halt. Field-glasses and 
signal-whistles were brought into requisi- 


tion, and many other, to ine, mysterious 
forms were gone through. 

I had not yet shaken off my terrors, and 
I now resolved to collect my thoughts, and 
devote what I believed to be my last 
moments to prayer ; for I could not then 
penetrate the motives which actuated the, 
to me., strange behaviour of my escort, 
and I fully and firmly believed I should 
soon be dragged from the carriage and 
hanged from a bough of the maple-tree 
the leaves of which were rustling over 
the carriage. 

I afterwards ascertained that it was from 
fear of a rescue by Ashby's cavalry that 
all the precautions which alarmed me so 
much were taken ; and I make no doubt 
but that gallant Confederate, had he known 
of my situation, would have brought me 
off, or perished in the attempt. 

After a long pause the word " Forward" 


was given, and our march was resumed at 
a walk. 

In due course we gained the outskirts of 
Winchester, and were met by the re- 
mainder of the regiment by which I was 
escorted. The whole, amounting to 550 
sabres, some in front, some in rear of the 
carriage, marched in solemn procession 
down the main street of the town ; and I 
believe the citizens, who rushed to the 
windows and doors, at first supposed that 
the carriage which conveyed my small but 
living person was the funeral car of a 
general officer bearing the warrior to his 
place of interment. 

It was about six o'clock in the even- 
ing when I was brought to General 
White's head-quarters, which Avere fixed 
about a quarter of a mile beyond the 

I was immediately ordered to alight, 


and without a minute's delay I was ushered 
into his presence. 

He received me with a graceful bow, 
and bade me welcome with marked cour- 

I returned his salutation with as much 
ease as I could assume, and asked what he 
intended doing with me. 

" To-morrow," replied he, " I shall 
send you on to the commanding officer 
at Martinsburg. He can best inform 
you what is to be done with you. You 
will rest here after your journey, for the 

" But surely," I interceded, "you 
will at least allow me to remain with 
my friends in the village until the morn- 
ing ? " 

" No, no," he rejoined, rather pettishly; 
tl I cannot consent to that. It would take 
a whole regiment to guard you; for, 


though the rebel cavalry should not enter 
the town to attempt your rescue, I make 
no doubt that the citizens themselves would 
try it." 

" But surely," I then pleaded, " you do 
not mean that I am to sleep here, defence- 
less and alone in a tent, at the mercy of 
your brigade ? I never yet slept in a tent 
when I was present with our army, and 
how can I endure such a penance in the 
camp of my enemies ?" 

" My own tent," replied the General, 
with a low bow, " has been properly 
prepared for the reception of a lady. 
Whenever you wish to retire you can 
follow your inclinations; and you may 
rest assured you shall sleep in perfect 

Supper was then brought in ; and it did 
not escape my notice that the table was 
decorated with a dazzling display of rich 

VOL. I. n 


silver plate, which I more than suspected 
had formerly been the property of some 
of our dear old Virginian families ; and 
the thought that the rightful owners were 
at that moment miserable outcasts, pro- 
bably in want of the bread my Federal 
lords despised, effectually destroyed any 
appetite my sufferings might have left 

I said not a word until supper was 
finished ; then, rising quietly from my 
camp-stool, I begged permission to retire 
to the tent which I had been informed was 
to be my dormitory. 

The Greneral rang a small bell, which 
was quickly answered by an " intelligent 
contraband," bearing two very massive 
silver candlesticks, which, like the spoons 
and forks, were doubtless the spoils of my 
native province, probably once the property 
of an intimate friend. 


" Show this lady to the tent that has 
been prepared for her reception ;" and 
these words, with the accompaniment 
of a bow, were all I had in exchange 
for the prayers and blessings I had 
been accustomed to carry with me to 
my bed. 

No sooner had I entered the tent than 
the negro left me to sleep or to my own 

For some time I listened to the tramp 
of the sentries as they paced to and 
fro outside ; then I tried to distract 
my thoughts and forget my grief in 
attempting to guess how many Yankee 
soldiers were told off to guard a single 
Confederate girl. But all would not do : 
for the time being I was conquered in 
body and spirit ; my burden seemed 
heavier than I could bear. I sat down 
upon my camp-stool, and pressed my 

n 2 


hands upon my aching brow, and before 
long the fatigue and anxiety I had un- 
dergone stood rne in stead, and I fell 



A false Alarm — Arrival at Martinsburg — My Mother and 
Family visit me — Departure for 'Washington — My 
Eeception at the Depot— The "Old Capitol"— My 
Prison Eoom — My Treatment — Interview with the 
Chief of Detectives — Offers of Liberty — My Eeply — 
A Pleasing Eeminiscence of my Captivity. 

About half-past three the following morn- 
ing I was suddenly aroused from my com- 
fortless slumbers by the beating of the long 
roll, and by the reports of several muskets 
fired in quick succession. Officers half 
dressed sprang to arms, rushed to their 
horses, and rode off to the outposts. Mean- 


while, I had lighted my candle, my heart 
beating high with hope ; for I persuaded 
myself that the alarm was caused by an 
attempt on the part of the Confederates to 
effect my rescue. I sat down anxiously 
awaiting the result, when one of the 
officers, who was rushing to the front, 
stopped opposite my tent and shouted, or 
rather roared out — 

u Put out that light : it is some signal to 
the rebels. Do you hear me ?" 

I of course obeyed the mandate, and a 
few minutes afterwards I heard the retreat 
beat; upon which one of the sentries 
explained the meaning of what had hap- 
pened, and how it came to pass that the 
camp had been thrown into such a state 
of confusion. It appeared that an obtuse 
cow had strayed from a neighbouring field, 
and, not understanding the challenge of 
the sentry, had disregarded the order to 


halt, although twice repeated. Hereupon 
the sentry, who could not make out the 
outline of the cow in the darkness, fired, 
and the other sentries on his right and left, 
taking the hint, fired also, though at what 
they aimed it would be difficult to say. 
However, fire they did at random, as is 
the custom of undisciplined troops every- 
where, and thus all my hopes of a rescue 
were extinguished by a cow. 

Dawn was hardly breaking when I was 
ordered to get ready once more, as I was 
to be taken directly to Martinsburg. 

My preparations were soon made, and 
with two hundred for my escort I set 
forward. At eight o'clock we came to a 
halt at a small farm-house standing by the 
road-side. Here breakfast had been pre- 
pared, and I was informed the refresh- 
ment was at my disposal. No sooner was 
my appetite satisfied — a consummation 


which was easy and rapid — than we re- 
sumed our journey to Martinsburg, at 
which bourne I arrived about one in the 
afternoon, tired and exhausted with the 
fatigue and anxiety I had undergone. 

Major Sherman, compassionating my 
forlorn condition, very kindly stayed be- 
hind the cavalcade and prevailed upon his 
wife to accompany me to the camp, which 
was pitched at a short distance on the 
north side of the town. 

I was forthwith conducted to the tent of 
the commanding officer. My head was now 
almost bursting with pain ; and I implored 
him to have me taken to my home, which 
was close by in a suburb of the village, 
there to rest and refresh myself for a few 
hours, as I understood I was to start for 
Washington at two o'clock next morning. 
I make no doubt my petition would have 
been granted had not the detective here 


interposed and informed the Federal 
Colonel that Mr. Secretary Stanton would 
probably take exception to such an in- 
dulgence, which would give me an oppor- 
tunity of holding communication with 
persons inimical to the United States 

After putting this " spoke in my wheel," 
so to speak, my amiable custodian went 
himself to my home and ransacked all my 
father's private papers, under pretence of 
hunting for " communications " from my- 
self to my mother. Fortunately, however, 
he found none, and his unwelcome visit 
was not crowned with the success he had 

To return to myself. 

I was sitting on the camp-stool in my 
tent, gazing listlessly about me, when my 
attention was suddenly attracted to a car- 
riage which was driving into the encamp- 



merit. It stopped, and a lady rapidly 
alighted. She was dressed in deep mourn- 
ing ; a thick veil entirely concealed her 
face, but I recognised her at once, in spite 
of her disguise. 

The feverish intelligence which accom- 
panies danger and suffering was superadded 
to that natural instinct which, though no 
one can explain, all have experienced, and 
I felt, for I could not see, that the visitor 
was my mother. 

I sprang from my seat, and rushed into 
her arms with a cry of joy I had no power 
to repress. 

u My poor, dear child !" she said, or 
rather gasped, and then sank fainting at 
my feet. 

They carried her into the tent, and the 
first use she made of restored consciousness 
was to implore the Colonel, in the most 
moving terms, to allow her to carry me 


home. She begged him to trust the evi- 
dence of his own senses, and to read in 
my haggard looks the bodily prostration 
to which I was reduced, no less than the 
mental anguish which was consuming me ; 
and in very truth the iron had entered 
into my soul, and my sufferings were 
almost greater than I could bear. 

The Colonel politely but firmly refused 
to grant my mother's prayer; and I am 
willing to believe that in this refusal he was 
actuated by a stern sense of duty, for his 
feelings so far prevailed as to induce him 
to authorize my removal to Raemer's 
Hotel, which is contiguous to the station 
from which the trains for Washington start. 
No sooner had I, a young girl weak and ill, 
accompanied by my mother and Mrs. Sher- 
man, set foot in the hotel, than the build- 
ing was girdled by a cordon of sentries, 
twenty-seven in number, in addition to 


whom three were posted in the passage lead- 
ing to my room, and one more was stationed 
just outside my door ; and then, with these 
material guarantees for my security and 
good behaviour, my little sister, my bro- 
thers, and my mother were allowed to 
visit me. 

It had been arranged that the detective 
who arrested me should be my escort as 
far as Washington; but I so loathed the 
sight of this man, that I sent for Colonel 
Holt, and implored him to substitute for 
the odious reptile any one of his officers 
who could be spared, and upon whom he 
could rely for my safe conduct. 

Colonel Holt kindly granted my request, 
and detailed Lieutenant Steele, of the 12th 
Illinois Cavalry, for " escort duty." 

As the time for my arrival approached 
my feelings overpowered my self-control, 
and, for once, I yielded to a passionate 


burst of grief. Nor was I without an ex- 
cuse for my weakness. My nearest and 
dearest were lamenting around me, and 
within a few minutes I was to be torn 
from their arms and consigned to the 
doubtful mercies of strangers and enemies. 
My strength, too, failed me ; and, just as 
the fatal moment drew near, I sank down 
in a stupor from which I was suddenly 
and painfully awakened by the ominous 
screech of the railway engine. I nerved 
myself by a vigorous effort, and within a 
few seconds I found myself seated in the 
train. 1 say found myself, for I have 
never been able distinctly to recall how I 
reached the station — -whether I walked or 
was carried I know not. I was soon, how- 
ever, conscious that Lieutenant Steele was 
by my side, and that Washington was my 
destination. I felt grateful for the presence 
of an officer to whom I might reasonably 


look for protection, and the reflection that, 
come what would, I had escaped the 
clutches of the detective roused my 
drooping spirits. 

Alas ! this infatuation was soon dis- 
pelled, for, upon looking about me, I was 
horrified to see my " evil genius" occupy- 
ing the left seat of the carriage. 

The image of Edgar Poe's raven arose 
in my mind, and my disturbed imagination 
whispered that I was doomed to the per- 
petual companionship of an incarnate fiend. 

It afterwards transpired that this able 
minion of Mr. Stanton had telegraphed to 
the chief of detectives at Washington to 
meet us at the depot.* 

Mr. Steele, who had no idea I was to be 
thrown into prison, observed that upon 
our arrival at Washington I should go to 

* In America a railway terminus is called a depot. 


Willard's Hotel, and after a short rest 
proceed to the office of the Secretary-at- 
War. This plan, however, was by no 
means in accordance with the programme 
drawn up by the detective. He was one of 
Mr. Stanton's chosen and trusted agents. 
He doubtless well knew what was in store 
for me, and he did not scruple to presume 
upon his position, and use very sharp 
words to Lieutenant Steele. 

It was about nine o'clock in the evening 
when we arrived at Washington ; but, not- 
withstanding the lateness of the hour, a 
very large concourse of people had assem- 
bled in and about the depot, in order to 
catch a glimpse of the "wonderful rebel;" 
for the news of my arrest had preceded 
my arrival. 

As I stepped upon the platform the chief 
of the detectives, another kindred spirit 
of Mr. Stanton's, seized me roughly by 


the arm, and in a gruff voice shouted 
out — 

" Come on : I'll attend to you." 

He was then proceeding to push me 
through the crowd, when Lieutenant 
Steele, thrusting himself forward, pro- 
tested vehemently against such usage, and 
declared that I should not be treated in so 
barbarous a manner ; that I was a lady, 
and that my character and position should 
be respected. 

The torrent of abuse that was poured 
upon him for thus endeavouring to take 
my part was conveyed in words too hor- 
rible to bear repetition; and at that 
moment I would gladly have lain down 
and died, for the thought flashed across 
my mind — 

" My God ! if this is the beginning, 
what will the end be ?" 

Amongst the crowd I had many sympa- 


thizers ; but they dared not interfere. At 
Washington might was indeed right ; and 
I will venture to say that the arbitrary 
exercise of power by the United States Go- 
vernment has cast into the shade all that we 
read of the Spanish Inquisition, and all that 
we hear of Russian domination in Poland. 
A word of encouragement, nay, a whisper 
of condolence, would have been sufficient to 
introduce an imprudent friend to that 
receptacle which was awaiting me — a 
prison cell. 

I was thrust into a carriage ; and the 
order, " Drive to the Old Capitol," was 
promptly given ; but, before it could be 
obeyed, Lieutenant Steele, who had been 
very unceremoniously dismissed from fur- 
ther attendance upon me, stepped up and 
politely begged permission to wait upon 
me to prison. To a gruff refusal he firmly 
rejoined — 

vol. i. o 


u I am determined to see her out of your 
hands, at least." 

The carriage was driven at a rapid pace, 
and we soon came within sight of my 
future home — a vast brick building, like 
all prisons, sombre, chilling, and repul- 

Its dull, damp walls look out upon the 
street : its wnarrow indows are further 
darkened by heavy . iron stanchions, 
through which the miserable inmates 
may soothe their captivity by gazing 
upon those who are still free, but whose 
freedom hangs but by a slender thread. 

Such is the calm retreat provided by a 
free and enlightened community for those 
of its citizens who have the audacity to 
express their disapproval of the policy 
adopted by the government of the hour. 

In the days of old France the victims 
of royal indignation were seized under 


cover of night, and buried with secrecy 
and despatch in the impenetrable recesses 
of the Bastille ; the most jealous care, the 
most unceasing vigilance, was observed, in 
order that the mystery of their doom 
should never be elucidated; the lettre de 
cachet, which was the implement of their 
destruction, was in its very nature a proof 
that such acts of violence and injustice 
were a source of fear and shame even to 
the despot who committed them. 

Many a dark deed has been perpetrated 
within the old walls of the Tower of 
London ; its stones have more than once 
been stained with the blood of the inno- 
cent ; but here, again, tortures and death 
were studiously concealed, and, when 
detected, amply avenged. 

The autocrat of Russia does not exhibit 
to the world the instruments with which 
he chastises his naughty children; the 

o 2 


clank of Siberian chains is not heard in 
any other quarter of the globe. 

It has been reserved for the Government 
of the United States of America, the 
Apostles of Liberty, the tender-hearted 
emancipators, who shudder at the bare 
idea of the African's wrongs, to cast into 
a dungeon in open day, without accusation 
or form of trial, any one of their fellow- 
countrymen and countrywomen whom they 
may suspect of disaffection to the clique 
which retains them in power and office. 

One of the greatest authors, ancient or 
modern, when speaking of our forefathers, 
said — 

" They left their native land in search of freedom, and 
found it in a desert." 

Could "Nominis Umbra," wrapped in his 
old veil of mystery, revisit our world, he 
would be appalled to find how completely 


the men of this generation have parted with 
that freedom without receiving so much 
as a mess of pottage in exchange for 
their glorious birthright. 

To return to my narrative. 

Upon my arrival at the prison I was 
ushered into a small office. A clerk, who 
was writing at a desk, looked up for a 
moment and informed me the superin- 
tendent would attend to my business 
immediately. The words were hardly 
uttered when Mr. Wood entered the room, 
and I was aware of the presence of a man 
of middle height, powerfully built, with 
brown hair, fair complexion, and keen, 
bluish-gray eyes. 

Mr. Wood prides himself, I believe, 
upon his plebeian extraction ; but I can 
safely aver that beneath his rough exterior 
there beats a warm and generous heart. 

" And so this is the celebrated rebel 


spy," said he. "I am very glad to see 
you, and will endeavour to make you as 
comfortable as possible; so whatever you 
wisli for, ask for it and you shall have it. 
I am glad I have so distinguished a person- 
age for my guest. Come, let me show 
you to your room." 

We traversed the hall, ascended a flight 
of stairs, and found ourselves in a short, 
narrow passage, up and down which a 
sentry paced, and into which several doors 
opened. One of these doors, No. 6, was 
thrown open ; and behold my prison cell ! 

Mr. Wood, after repeating his injunction 
to me to ask for whatever I might wish, 
and with the promise that he would send 
me a servant, and that I should not be 
locked in as long as I "behaved myself," 
withdrew, and left me to my reflections. 

At the moment I did not quite under- 
stand the meaning of the last indulgence, 


but -within a few minutes I was given a 
copy of the rules and regulations of the 
prison, which set forth that if I held any 
communication whatever with the other 
prisoners, I should be punished by having 
my door locked. 

There was nothing remarkable in the 
shape or size of my apartment, except that 
two very large windows took up nearly 
the whole of one side of the wall. 

Upon taking an inventory of my effects, 
I found them to be as follows : — A washing- 
stand, a looking-glass, an iron bedstead, a 
table, and some chairs. 

From the windows I had a view of part 
of Pennsylvania Avenue, and far away in 
the country the residence of General Floyd, 
ex-United States Secretary of War, where 
I had formerly passed many happy hours. 

At first I could not help indulging in 
reminiscences of my last visit to Wash- 


ington, and contrasting it with my present 
forlorn condition ; but, rousing myself from 
my reverie, I bethought myself of the in- 
dulgence promised me, and asked for a 
rocking-chair and a fire ; not that I required 
the latter, for the room was already very 
warm, but I fancied a bright blaze would 
make it look more cheerful. 

My trunk, after being subjected to a 
thorough scrutiny, was sent up to me, and, 
having plenty of time at my disposal, I 
unpacked it leisurely. 

Upon each floor of the prison were 
posted sentries within sight and call of 
each other. The sentry before my door 
was No. 6, and when I had occasion for 
my servant I had to request him to sum- 
mon the corporal of the guard. My at- 
tendant was an "intelligent contraband," 
who was extremely useful to me during 
my enforced residence in the Old Capitol. 


I had not unpacked my trunk: when 
dinner was served; and here I shall do plain 
justice by transcribing the bill of fare ; and 
it will be allowed I can claim no commiser- 
ation on the plea of bread-and-water diet, 
though such had been ordered for me by 
Mr. Stanton: — 

Soup — Beef Steak — Chicken — Boiled Corn — Tomatoes- 
Irish Stew — Potatoes — Bread and Butter — Cantelopes 
— Peaches — Pears — Grapes. 

This, with but little variety, constituted 
my dinner every day until released. 

At eight o'clock Mr. Wood came to my 
room, accompanied by the chief of the 
detectives, who desired an interview with 
me on the part of the Secretary at War. 

I begged this worthy to be seated — a 
request he immediately complied with; 
and he then delivered the following graceful 
exhortation, which I transcribe verbatim: — 


u Ain't you pretty tired of your prison 
a'ready ? I've come to get you to make a 
free confession now of what you've did 
agin our cause ; and, as we've got plenty of 
proof agin you, you might as well acknow- 
ledge at once." 

" Sir," I replied, "I do not understand 
you; and furthermore, I have nothing 
to say. When you have informed me 
on what grounds I have been arrested 
and given me a copy of the charges pre- 
ferred against me, I will make my state- 
ment ; but I shall not now commit myself." 
Thereupon the oath of allegiance was prof- 
fered, and I was harangued at some 
length upon the enormity of my offence, 
and given to understand the cause of the 
South was hopeless. 

" Say, now, won't you take the oath of 
allegiance ? Remember, Mr. Stanton will 
hear of all this. He sent me here." 


To tliis peroration I replied — 

" Tell Mr. Stanton from me, I hope 
that when I commence the oath of al- 
legiance to the United States Government, 
my tongue may cleave to the roof of 
my mouth, and that, if ever I sign one line 
that will show to the world that I owe 
the United States Government the slight- 
est allegiance, I hope my arm may fall 
paralysed at my side." 

This speech of mine he immediately took 
down in his note-book, and growing very 
angry at my determination, he called out — 

u "Well, if this is your resolution, you'll 
have to lay here and die ; and serve you 

"Sir," I retorted, "if it is a crime to 
love the South, its cause and its President, 
then I am a criminal. I am in your 
power. Do with me as you ^please. But I 
fear you not. I would rather lie down in 


this prison and die than leave it owing 
allegiance to such a government as yours. 
Now leave the room ; for so thoroughly am 
I disgusted with your conduct towards 
me that I cannot endure your presence 

Scarcely had I finished my defiance, 
which I confess was spoken in a loud tone 
of voice, when cheers and cries of " Bravo!" 
reached my ears. Until that moment I 
was not aware that the rooms on the floor 
with my own were occupied ; for, having 
kept my door shut all day, I had had no 
means of noticing what was passing around 

My door, however, had been left open 
during my interview with the detective, 
consequently my neighbours, whom I after- 
wards ascertained to be Confederate officers 
and Englishmen, had overheard our whole 
conversation, and hailed with applause the 


firmness with which I had rejected Mr. 
Stanton's overtures of liberty, conditional 
as they were upon my renunciation of the 
Confederacy and on my allegiance to the 
Federal Government. And now Mr. Wood, 
taking pity upon me, withdrew the detec- 
tive, saying — 

"Come, we had better go: the lady is 

Within a few minutes of their departure, 
I heard a low, significant cough, and, as I 
turned in the direction from whence it 
proceeded, something small and white fell 
at my feet. I picked it up and found that 
it was a minute nut-shell basket, upon which 
were painted miniature Confederate flags. 
Round it was wrapped a small piece of 
paper, upon which were traced a few 
words expressive of sympathy with my 
misfortunes. I afterwards found out that 
the author of this short communication was 


an Englishman ; and I can assure hirn that 
his kindness was like a ray of light from 
heaven breaking into the cell of a con- 
demned prisoner. I wrote a hasty reply, 
and, watching my opportunity, threw it to 
him. I then lay down on my bed in a 
tranquil — I had almost said a happy — frame 
of mind ; and I closed my first day in a 
dungeon by repeating to myself more than 
once — 

" Stone walls do not a prison make, 
Nor iron bars a cage : 
A free and quiet mind can take 
These for a hermitage." 



My First Night in Prison — The Secret Telegraph. — An In- 
cident in connection rath President Jefferson Davis's 
Portrait— I am punished for my Indiscretion — I am 
permitted to walk in the Prison Yard, where I 
meet with a Eelation — I am informed I am to be 
exchanged — Departure from "Washington. 


The first night in a convent forms the 
subject of a melancholy, but beautiful 
picture. My first night in a prison must 
be painted in dark colours, unrelieved by 
the radiance that plays upon the features 
of the sleeping devotee, who has of her own 


free will cast aside the world, exulting in 
the belief that the voluntary sacrifice of 
youth, love, and all the ties of nature will 
be more than recompensed by an immor- 
tality of bliss. 

Her dreams are of paradise : enthusiasm 
comes to the aid of religion, and gives her 
a foretaste of eternity. 

"Her soul is gone before her dust to heaven." 

Prophets, angels, and saints people her 
silent cell; a vision of glory streams in 
through her narrow window ; and the first 
night in the convent is the night of ecstasy. 
I said, at the conclusion of my last chapter, 
that I was comforted by the spontaneous 
proof of sympathy given by my unknown 
correspondent; but my situation was too 
painful to admit of real, lasting consolation. 
The medicine administered was at best but 
a momentary stimulant ; the reaction soon 


set in ; and, as my fatigue gained ground, 
the sense of my miserable condition pre- 
vailed against my bodily energies. 

I rose from my bed and walked to the 
window. The moon was shining brightly. 
How I longed that it were in my power to 
spring through the iron bars that caught 
and scattered her beams around the room ! 

The city was asleep, but to my disordered 
imagination its sleep appeared feverish and 
perturbed. Far away the open country, 
visible in the clear night, looked the express 
image of peace and repose. 

" God made the country, and man made 
the town," I thought, as I contrasted the 
close atmosphere of my city prison with 
the clear air of the fields beyond. 

What would I not have given to exchange 
the sound of the sentry's measured tread 
for the wild shriek of the owl and the 
drowsy flight of the bat ! 

VOL. i. P 


The room which, was appropriated to me 
had formerly been the committee-room of 
the old Hall of Congress, and had been 
repeatedly tenanted by Clay, Webster, 
Calhoun, and other statesmen of their age 
and mark. 

A thousand strange fancies filled my brain, 
and nearly drove me mad. The phantoms 
of the past rose up before me, and I fancied 
I could hear the voices of the departed 
orators as they declaimed against the 
abuses and errors of the day, and gave their 
powerful aid to the cause of general liberty. 
They never dreamed that the very walls 
which re-echoed the eloquence of freedom 
would ere long confine the victims of an 
oligarchy. Theirs was the bright day — 
ours is the dark morrow, of which the evil 
is more than sufficient. Those great men — 
for great they unquestionably were — lacked 
not the gift of prophecy, for they did not 


fail to discern the little cloud, then no 
bigger than a man's hand, which was 
gathering in the horizon — that dark speck 
which was so soon to generate a tempest 
far blacker than that from which the cha- 
riot of Ahab made haste to escape. 

Throughout that long dreary night I 
stood at the window watching, thinking, 
and praying. It seemed to me that morn- 
ing would never come. 

" Rethought that streak of dawning grey- 
Would never dapple into day, 
So heavily it rolled away 
Before the eastern flame." 

But the morning came at last — the 
herald, let me hope, from a brighter world of 
another morrow to us. No sooner did the 
first faint light find its way through the 
windows, than I threw myself again upon 
my bed, and almost immediately sank into 
a deep sleep. 

p 2 


It was about nine o'clock, I believe, 
when I was aroused by a loud knocking at 
my door. 

" What is it ?" I cried, springing up. 

" The officer calling the roll, to ascertain 
that no one has escaped." 

"You do not expect me to get through 
these iron bars, do you ?" 

" No, indeed," was the chuckling re- 
joinder; and immediately afterwards I 
heard the officer's retreating footsteps 
as he passed on in the execution of his 

Soon after the servant who had been 
assigned to me came to make preparations 
for breakfast ; and, as my morning meal 
was no less ample and choice than my 
dinner of the preceding evening, I will not 
detain my readers with a second prison bill 
of fare. 

It was but a few minutes after breakfast 

; » 


when the sentry directly outside ray door 
was relieved. 

I listened attentively to catch the orders 
given to the relief. They were — 

" You will not allow this lady to come 
outside her door or talk to any of those 
fellows in the room opposite ; and if she 
wants anything call the corporal of the 

guard. Now don't let these rebels 

skear yer." 

There was no more information to be 
gained for the moment ; so I sat down and 
amused myself with the morning papers, 
which had been brought to me with my 

They all contained an account of my 
capture, and a summary of my career. 
The subject-matter was, of course, person- 
ally interesting, although in every instance 
my motives were misconstrued, and my 
character was aspersed. I must, however, 


admit that many of the most bitter calum- 
nies then published of me were contradicted 
not many days afterwards in the very same 
journals which had originally circulated 

There was a narrow space behind the 
prison which was reserved for the prisoners' 
exercise —an indulgence they were granted 
at stated hours. On their way to their 
playground most of them had to pass my 
door, and in the procession I recognised, 
on the second day of my imprisonment, 
several of my old friends and acquaint- 
ances who had formerly belonged to the 
army of Virginia. 

The tedious day wore on, and a shudder 
passed over me as I recalled the hideous 
thoughts which had banished sleep through- 
out the previous night. 

Late in the evening, when my servant 
came with my tea, she told me that many 


prisoners had been brought in during the 
day, and that two of the newly arrived 
captives had been consigned to the room 
adjoining mine. 

By this time it had become known 
throughout the length and breadth of the 
prison-house that I was no other than that 
persecuted young lady " Belle Boyd." 

Acting upon this knowledge, my neigh- 
bours, who were the friends of happier days, 
devised a scheme by means of which they 
were enabled to make themselves known 
to me. 

At about eleven o'clock I sat down and 
opened my Bible. I selected a chapter 
the promises contained in which are pecu- 
liarly consoling to the captive ; but I had 
not read more than two or three verses 
when my attention was distracted by a 
knock against the wall. I listened with at- 
tention, and presently felt sure that the next 


sound which reached my ears was that made 
by a knife scooping out the plaster of the 

Within a few minutes the point of a 
long case-knife was visible ; and I was not 
slow to co-operate with those pioneers of 
free communication — the inmates of the 
next room. 

I made use of the knife that remained on 
my supper-tray ; and before long the two 
knives had conjointly made an aperture 
large enough to admit of the transmission 
of notes rolled tight and of the circum- 
ference of a man's forefinger. The clandes- 
tine correspondence that was thus carried 
on was, on either side of the wall, a source 
of much pleasure, and served to beguile 
many a tedious hour. 

In the room immediately above mine, 
and in which Mrs. Greenhow had been 
incarcerated and suffered so much for five 


long weary months, were confined some 
gentlemen of Fredericsburg. They had 
contrived to loosen a plank in the floor, and 
to make an aperture through which the 
occupant of the room beneath them might 
receive and return letters. 

Whenever I desired to communicate with 
the prisoners whose rooms were on the 
opposite side of the passage, I adopted the 
expedient of wrapping my note round a 
marble, which I rolled across, taking care 
that the sentry's back was turned when 
my missive was started on its voyage of 

I have described how I established a post 
between my room and the room on my 
right ; the same system was applied, with 
equal success, to the one on the left, which 
was then the abode of Major Fitzhugh, of 
Stuart's staff, and Major Morse, of Ewell's. 
This room, which joined with many others, 


became a medium of communication with 
all ; and we were soon enabled to transmit 
intelligence to each other throughout the 

It was on the fourth morning of my im- 
prisonment, as I was watching from my 
door the prisoners going down to break- 
fast, that a little Frenchman handed me un- 
observed a half-length portrait of Jefferson 
Davis. This I forthwith hung up in my 
room over the mantelpiece, with this in- 
scription below it — 

" Three cheers for Jeff. Davis and the Southern Con- 
federacy !" 

One of the prison officials, Lieutenant 
Holmes, passing by my door, caught sight 
of the hostile President's likeness, and the 
words with which I had decorated it. Bush- 
ing like a madman into my room, he tore it 
down with many violent oaths. ' l For this," 


he said, " you shall be locked in;" and 
he was as good as his word, for he turned 
the key in the door as he left the 

My offence was severely punished. I 
was kept a close prisoner ; and so little air 
was stirring in the sultry month of July 
that I grew very ill and faint, and at times 
I really thought I should have died from 
the oppressive heat of the room ; and this 
misery I had to endure for several weeks. 
At last Mr. Wood paid me a visit, and, 
observing how pale and ill I had become 
under such rigorous treatment, took pity 
upon me, and gave orders that my door 
should be once more left open. Soon after 
I was granted the further indulgence of 
half an hour's walk daily in that portion of 
the prison yard which had been assigned 
to ladies for exercise. 

One day, whilst standing in the doorway, 


my attention was attracted to an old gentle- 
man almost bent double with age; his 
long white hair hung down to his shoulders, 
whilst his beard, gre y with the heavy touch 
of old Father Time's fingers, reached nearly 
to his waist. 

A feeling of pity took possession of 
my soul, and I could not but help think- 
ing as I gazed upon him, " Poor old 
man! what an unfit place for you; even 
I, the delicate girl, can better stand 
the hardships of this dreary, comfortless 
place than you." And what was his crime ? 
This — he was designated a traitor to the 
Northern Government because he firmly 
believed that the Constitution as it was 
should remain unaltered. I afterwards 
learnt that he was Mr. Mahony, the editor 
of the Dulugue (Iowa) Crescent, and 
who, when released, published a book, 
" The Prisoner of State," which was, how- 


ever, suppressed by the Secretary of War, 

The rules of the prison, of course, inter- 
dicted all intercourse between the prisoners, 
but, alas ! I was on one occasion taken so 
completely by surprise as to obey my first 
impulse and commit a flagrant breach of 

I was walking up and down my " seven 
feet by nine" promenade, when I suddenly 
recognised one of my cousins, John Stephen- 
son, a young officer in Mosby's cavalry. 
So glad was I to see him that I never 
thought of consequences, but rushed up to 
exchange a few words with him. The 
charged bayonet of the sentry soon checked 
my impetuosity, and I was summarily sent 
back to my room, although "playtime" 
had not expired. My unfortunate cousin 
was at once removed to the guard- 



It was late one evening, and I was sitting 
reading at my open door, when Mr. Wood 
came down the stairs exclaiming — 

"All yon rebels get ready; you are 
going to ' Dixie ' to-morrow, and Miss 
Belle is going with you." 

At this joyful news all the prisoners 
within hearing of the tidings of their 
approaching liberation joined in three 
hearty cheers. For my part, I actually 
screamed for joy, so suddenly had my 
return to freedom been announced. 

The next day all the prisoners whose 
turn for exchange had come were drawn 
up in line in the prison yard. 

Soldiers were stationed from the door of 
the prison half-way across the street, which 
was thronged by a dense crowd, brought 
together by curiosity to witness the de- 
parture of the rebel prisoners. 

Two hundred captives, inclusive of the 


officers and myself, were then passed beyond 
the prison walls, and formed in line on the 
opposite side of the street. 

I stepped into an open carriage, followed 
by Major Fitzhugh, who had been " told 
off" to convey me to Eichmond. 

I carried concealed about me two gold 
sabre-knots, one of which was intended for 
General Jackson, the other for General Joe 

As we drove off the Confederate prisoners 
cheered us loudly ; their acclamations were 
taken up by the crowd, so that the whole 
street and square resounded with applause. 
When we arrived at the wharf, we were 
sent on board the steamer Jua?iita, which 
lay at her moorings all that night. 

I shall conclude this chapter with two or 
three prison reminiscences, which will, I 
hope, give my reader some idea of the 
menage of the " Old Capitol." 


On one occasion my servant had just 
brought me a loaf of sugar, when it occurred 
to me that the Confederate officers in the 
opposite room across the passage were in 
want of this very luxury. Accordingly I 
asked the sentry's permission to pass it over 
to them, and received from him an un- 
equivocal consent in these plain words — 
" I have no objection." 

This, I thought, was sufficient; and it 
will hardly be believed that, while I was in 
the very act of placing the sugar in the 
hand of one of the officers, the sentry struck 
my left hand with the butt-end of his musket, 
and with such violence was the blow de- 
livered that my thumb was actually broken. 
The attack was so unexpected, and the 
pain so excruciating, that I could not 
refrain from bursting into tears. 

As soon as I could master my feelings, I 
demanded of the sentry that he should 


summon the corporal of the guard; and, 
upon his refusing my just demand, I 
stepped forward with the intention of 
exercising my undoubted right in propria 

But my tyrant was now infuriated; 
he charged bayonets, and actually pinned 
me to the wall by my dress, his 
weapon inflicting a flesh-wound on rny 

At this moment, fortunately for me, the 
corporal of the guard came rushing up the 
stairs to ascertain the cause of the disturb- 
ance. The sentry was taken off his post, 
and, unless I am grievously mistaken, a 
short confinement in the guard-room was 
considered sufficient punishment for such 
outrageous conduct. 

Not long after this adventure, my aunt 
called to see me. Permission was given to 
me to pass down-stairs for the purpose of 

VOL. I. Q 


an interview with my relation, and I was 
proceeding on my way, when one of the 
sentries, with a volley of oaths, commanded 
me to " halt." 

" But I have permission to go down and 
see my relation." 

" Go back, or I'll break every bone in 
your body ; " and a bayonet was presented 
to my breast. 

I produced the certificate which autho- 
rized me to pass him; and I think, from 
his manner, he would have relented in his 
intentions towards me, and returned to a 
sense of his own duty, but he was encour- 
aged in his mutinous behaviour by the 
cheers of a roomful of Federal deserters, 
who called upon him to bayonet me. In 
this predicament I was saved by Major 
Moore, of the Confederate States army, 
and the timely arrival of Captain Higgins 
and Lieutenant Holmes, two prison au- 


thorities, who secured me froni further 

This man's crime, which was neither 
more nor less than open mutiny, was visited 
by a slight reprimand. This leniency was 
perhaps intended for a personal compliment 
to me. If so, let me assure the Yankee 
officers, I duly appreciate both its force and 

Mr. Wood, the superintendent, will, I 
am sure, forgive me for relating one 
characteristic anecdote of him. 

It was Sunday morning when he came 
stalking down the passage into which 
my room opened, proclaiming in the tones 
and with the gestures of a town-crier — 

" All you who want to hear the Word of 
God preached according to ' Jeff. Davis' 
go down into the yard ; and all you who 
want to hear it preached according to 
' Abe Lincoln' go into No. 16." 

q 2 


This was the way in which he separated 
the goats from the sheep. I need not say 
which party was considered the goats 
within the walls of the Old Capitol. 



Arrival at Fortress Monroe — Passage up the James 
River — Arrival at Richmond — "Home again" — 
Interview with General " Stonewall " Jackson — A 
Refugee once more — Review of the Confederate 
Army under General Lee — I receive my Commis- 
sion — Plying Yisit to my Home — Letter from 
" Stonewall " Jackson — My Reception by the 
People of Knoxville — I hear of the Death of 
General Jackson — Battle of Winchester — At Home 
once more. 

At early dawn, the Juanita cast off from 
her moorings, and late in the evening of 
the same day we dropped anchor at the 
mouth of the Potomac, where we passed 


that night. Next day, about four a.m., we 
proceeded on our way up the river, arriving 
at Fortress Monroe late in tlie evening; and 
here we were boarded by Lieutenant Dar- 
ling, of General Dix's staff. On each side 
of us lay General McClellan's transports, 
filled with soldiers ; about half a mile dis- 
tant was the u Rip Raps," a fort quite equal 
to Sumter in strength. Notwithstanding 
our position, which was exposed to the fire 
of this splendid fort, our people indulged 
their feelings by singing from time to 
time "the songs of the sunny South," and 
these they interspersed with loud cheers 
for Jeff. Davis. 

At one time a Yankee officer on board 
one of the transports, irritated evidently 
by these repeated expressions of animosity 
to his Government, hailed us with the 
words — 

" Three cheers for the Devil!" 


" It is only natural you should clieer for 
the advocate of your cause," was the ready 
retort; "and we will cheer for ours." 
And so these shouts and counter-shouts 
were kept up until we got under way 
again, and steamed up the muddy waters 
of the James river. 

As we rounded a bend in the stream we 
caught sight of the glorious flag of our 
country, the Stars and Bars.. It was 
waving in the evening breeze from a 
window in the house of Mr. Aikens. 

Until that well-known and beloved em- 
blem met my eyes again, I had but imper- 
fectly realized my freedom. Now it was 
present and visible in its chosen symbol. 
If our men had cheered before, their 
shouts, when surrounded by the transports 
and under the guns of the fort, were as 
nothing to those with which they hailed 
the emblem of " Dixie's" resolution to 


uphold its independence, defend its natu- 
ral rights, and resist force with force. 

At the wharf we were met by Colonel 
Ould, who held the office of Commissioner 
of Exchange at Richmond. He was at- 
tended by his assistant, Mr. Watson ; and it 
was under the supervision and by the direc- 
tion of these gentlemen that the exchanged 
soldiers were marched on shore. I passed 
that night very agreeably under Mr. 
Aiken's hospitable roof, and enjoyed my- 
self thoroughly in his society and that of 
his family. Next morning Colonel Allen 
sent his carriage and horses from Rich- 
mond, to convey me at my ease into the 
city. I decided, without hesitation, to 
drive to the Ballard House, where, in fact, 
I had been informed rooms were prepared 
for my reception. My route lay close by 
the encampment of the Richmond Blues ; 
and I confess to the mixed feeling of pride 


and pleasure I derived from the high com- 
pliment paid me by them. The company 
was drawn up in review order, and pre- 
sented arms as I drove by. In the evening 
I was serenaded by the city band: in 
short, my reception at the hands of all 
classes was nattering in the extreme. 

After a sojourn of ten days at the Bal- 
lard House, I removed to Mrs. W.'s board- 
ing house in Grace Street, where I enjoyed 
the delightful society of many old and 
warm friends. 

At the period of which I speak not a 
few of the notorieties of Richmond were 
assembled at Mrs. W.'s excellent esta- 
blishment; among others, General and 
Mrs. Joe Johnston, General Wigfall and his 
family, and Mrs. C, that celebrated leader 
of ton at Washington, equally and justly 
renowned for her wit and channs. Her 
conversation attracted round her, wherever 


she appeared, crowds of admiring listeners ; 
and I feel sure that many of my American 
readers will recognise the fair lady to 
whose name I have, for obvious reasons, 
placed the initial letter only. 

I was engaged one evening in a desul- 
tory conversation, when an officer who 
had been one of my fellow-captives in 
Washington came up to me and placed in 
my hands a note and a small box. Upon 
opening the latter I found that it con- 
tained a gold watch and chatelaine, both 
handsomely enamelled, and richly set with 
diamonds; and upon reading the note I 
discovered that the beautiful and useful 
ornament was offered to 1x137- acceptance 
" in token of the affection and esteem of 
my fellow-prisoners in the Old Capitol." 

For a few moments I could not find 
words to thank their delegate, so over- 
powered was I by this striking and unex- 


pected mark of the feelings entertained for 
me by my countrymen. 

I had been in Richmond but a short 
time, when my father, came to take me 
home. The battl e of Annetani nact been 
fought, and Martinsburg was once more in 
the hands of the Confederates. 

The very day after my return home I 
rode out to the encampment, escorted by 
a friend of my family, in order to pay a 
visit to Greneral Jackson. As I dismounted 
at the door of his tent, he came out, and, 
gently placing his hands upon my head, 
assured me of the pleasure he felt at seeing 
me once more well and free. Our inter- 
view was of necessity short, for the de- 
mands upon his valuable time were inces- 
sant; but his fervent " God bless you, my 
child," will never be obliterated from my 
memory, as long as Providence shall be 
pleased to allow it to retain its power. 


In the course of our conversation the 
General kindly warned me that, in the 
event of his troops being forced to retreat, 
it would be expedient that I should leave 
my home again, as the evacuation of Mar- 
tinsburg by the Confederates would, as on 
former occasions, be rapidly followed by 
its occupation by our enemies, and. that it 
would be unwise and unsafe for me to 
expose myself to the caprice or resentment 
of the Yankees, and run the risk of another 
imprisonment. He added that he would 
give me timely notice of his move- 
ments, by which my plans must be 

Very shortly after the interview I have 
just noticed the General rode into the 
village and took tea with us, and on the 
very day after his visit I received from 
him a message to the effect that the troops 
under his command were preparing for a 


retrograde movement upon Winchester, and 
that he could spare me an ambulance, by 
aid of which I should be enabled to precede 
the retreat of the army, and thus keep my 
friends between my enemies and myself. 

I must here explain that, when we had 
occasion to retire from the border, we were 
forced to look to the army for the means of 
transportation, it being the invariable prac- 
tice of the Yankees when they evacuated 
any place to take with them every horse and 
mule, without the slightest discrimination 
between public and private property ; and, 
should circumstances compel themto leave 
any animal behind, it was in these instances 
wantonly destroyed. 

Acting upon General Jackson's advice, I 
removed to Winchester ; and it was there 
and then that I received my commission 
as Captain and honorary Aide-de-camp to 
" Stonewall" Jackson; and thenceforth I 


enjoyed the respect paid to an officer 
by soldiers. 

Upon the occasion of a review of the 
troops in presence of Lord Hartingdon 
and Colonel Leslie, and again, when 
General Wilcox's division was inspected 
by Generals Lee and Longstreet, I had 
the honour to attend on horseback, and to 
be associated with the staff officers of the 
several commanders. 

While General Wade-Hampton held 
possession of Martinsburg I seized the 
opportunity of paying many visits to my 
home, and upon one of these expedi- 
tions I narrowly escaped being again cap- 

The party that accompanied me was 
a large one ; and, upon our arrival at 
Martinsburg, we improvised a dance. We 
were informed that the Yankees were 
advancing, but we had suffered a similar 


alarm to disperse us without cause more 
than once before. We therefore easily 
persuaded ourselves it was only the old 
cry of " Wolf! wolf!" This time, however, 
the warning voice was a true one ; and we 
were barely off when heavy skirmishing 
commenced at no great distance from us — 
in fact, at the very outskirts of the town. 
This was the last opportunity I had of 
seeing my mother for nearly a year. 

The Yankees were advancing by way 
of Culpepper Court-house, and our people, 
leaving the valley, crossed the mountains 
to intercept them. 

As the small-pox was raging fearfully at 
Stanton, it was, of course, dangerous even 
to enter that town. Accordingly I, in 
company with several officers' wives, among 
whom were Mrs. Gr., Mrs. W., Mrs. F., and 
others, avoided the pestilential spot, and 
adopted a different route. 


We were well in advance of the army, 
but our servants were with our baggage, 
which was transported in the ordnance 
waggons of General W.'s division. Passing 
through Flint Hill — the inhabitants of 
which gave me a cordial reception — I went 
on to Charlottesville, where I remained 
some time. 

At last, feeling very anxious to rejoin 
my mother, I determined to write to Gene- 
ral Jackson and ask his opinion upon the 
step I so longed to take. I was prepared 
to run almost any risk ; but, at the same 
time, I resolved to abide by the General's 

It was pronounced in the following 
note, which I transcribe verbatim, as there 
is a kind of satisfaction in noting down the 
words of a truly great man, however 
trivial the subject that may have called 
them forth : — 


"Head Quarters, Army of Virginia, 

" Near Culpepper Court-house, 

"January 29th, 1862. 
" My dear Child, 

" I received your letter asking my advice 
regarding your returning to your home, which is now 
in the Federal lines. As you have asked for my advice, 
I can but candidly give it. I think that it is not safe ; 
and therefore do not attempt it until it is, for you know 
the consequences. You would doubtless be imprisoned, 
and possibly might not be released so soon again. You 
had better go to your relatives in Tennessee, and there 
remain until you can go with safety. God bless you. 
" Truly your friend, 

" T. J. Jactsoh." 

I lost no time in acting upon this sound 
and friendly advice, and was soon " on the 
road '' once more. 

Upon arriving at Knoxville I was re- 
ceived with every mark of kindness and 
hospitality. The second night after my 
arrival I was serenaded by the band, and 
the people congregated in vast numbers to 
get a glimpse of the " rebel spy;" fori 

VOL. I. K 


bad accepted the sobriquet given nie by 
the Yankees, and I was now known 
throughout North and South by the same 

After one or two appropriate airs had 
been played, the people in the streets took 
it into their heads to call for my appearance 
on the balcony. I rather dreaded the pub- 
licity that would attend a compliance with 
their wishes, and I begged General J. to 
be my substitute and thank them in my 
name. But they would not be satisfied 
without a look at me ; so I steadied my 
nerves and stepped forth from the window. 
Hereupon the shouts were redoubled, and 
I took the opportunity of concocting a 
pretty speech ; but it did not please me, 
and I felt morally convinced I should 
break down were I to attempt anything 
like an oration. So soon, therefore, as 
silence was restored I addressed my kind- 


hearted audience in the following words, 
which contain an allusion to an expression 
once made use of in public by General Joe 
Johnston : — 

"Like General Joe Johnson, 'I can 
fight, but I cannot make speeches.' But, 
my good friends, I no less feel and appre- 
ciate the kind compliment you have paid 
me this night." 

I confess that I felt relieved when this 
harangue, brief and plain as it was, was 
over. It was followed by u Dixie's Land " 
and " Good Night." After which national 
airs the band marched off and the people 

Next morning the newspapers gave cir- 
cumstantial accounts of the whole affair, 
in highly complimentary language, and, 
instead of being described as the ' ' rebel 
spy," I was designated "the Virginian 
heroine." I now became the guest of my 


relative, Judge Samuel Boyd; and pleasant 
indeed was my visit to Knoxville. The 
city at this period was gay and animated 
beyond description. Party succeeded party, 
ball followed ball, concert came upon con- 
cert, and I took no thought of time. 

When spring came round I made up my 
mind to make a tour through the South, 
and then return to Virginia. 

I have said so much of the various recep- 
tions which I met with at different places 
that I almost fear I shall be accused of ego- 
tism rather than given credit for gratitude ; 
but it should be borne in mind that the 
period of which I write had its perils and its 
pleasures, its griefs and its joys, exciting 
enough to justify outbreaks of feeling in a 
people naturally warm-hearted and sensi- 
tive. But, whatever criticism I expose 
myself to, I cannot refrain from expressing 
my warm thanks to . that large body of 


my countrymen whose incessant kindness 
towards rue made my progress through the 
Southern States one long ovation. My 
advent was anticipated by telegram at each 
town through which I passed. Invitations 
of the most hospitable and delicate nature 
poured in upon me. Offers of assistance 
and assurances of regard and affection were 
innumerable. I accepted as many invita- 
tions as my time would permit, and was 
rejoiced at the opportunities I enjoyed of 
going over the famous and productive 
cotton plantations of Alabama. 

After a long and delightful stay in 
Montgomery, I made the best of my 
way to Mobile — a city I had always 
wished to see, and one which existing 
circumstances made doubly interesting to 
all true Southern hearts. 

Before arriving at the last-named port, 
a rumour had reached me that General 


Jackson had been wounded at the battle 
of Chancellorsville, but the rumour also 
affirmed that the wound was very trifling — 
so slight indeed as to be of no consequence. 
Conceive then the shock I experienced 
when this fatal telegram was put into my 
hand : — 

" Battle House, Mobile, Alabama. 
"Miss Belle Boyd, 

" General Jackson now lies in state at the 
Governor's mansion. 

" T. Bassett French, 

"A.D.C. to tlie Governor." 

And this was all. These few words were 
the funeral oration of a man, who, for 
a rare combination of the best and the 
greatest qualities, has seldom or never been 

It is not for me to trace the career and 
paint the virtues of u Stonewall" Jackson: 
that task is reserved for an abler pen ; 


but I may be permitted to record my 
poignant grief for the loss of him who had 
condescended to be my friend. 

The sorrow of the South is unmitigated 
and inextinguishable. 

When Xelson fell, at the crowning victory 
of Trafalgar, it was given to England to 
engrave that thrilling epitaph— 

"Hoste devicto requievit," 

upon the tomb of her darling hero, whom 
she justly loved and reverenced beyond all 
the great sons that Providence had sent 
her with so lavish a hand. 

Alas ! it was not General Jackson's 
destiny to deliver his country ; but future 
ages will not measure his fame by the 
shortness of his career. 

u The lightning that light eneth out of 
the one part under heaven shineth unto 
the other part under heaven." Yet no 


sooner do men see its brightness than it 

And such was the glory of Jackson. It 
had neither dawn nor twilight. It rose 
and set in meridian splendour. 

During the next thirty days — the space 
of time allotted for the outward and visible 
sign of a soldier's sorrow — I wore a crape 
band on my left arm ; then leaving Mobile 
with a heavy heart, I proceeded to Charles- 
ton, South Carolina, where I remained 
one day only. I found time, however, to 
accept an invitation to go on board the 
two gun-boats which lay in the harbour, 
and from their decks, by the aid of glasses, 
I could make out nearly all the ships of 
the Yankee blockading squadron. 

In the evening I dined on shore with 
General Beauregard and several of the 
officers of his staff; and shortly after din- 
ner one of the officers kindly presented 


me with a large supply of fresh fruit, 
which was part of the cargo of a blockade- 
runner which had just run in safe and 
sound from Nassau. Besides the oranges, 
pine-apples, and bananas, which were 
most acceptable, my kind friend gave me 
a very handsome parrot, which I contrived 
to take home with me. 

When I made good my return to Rich- 
mond, I learnt, on the best authority, that 
the Confederate troops were making a 
second advance down the valley, their 
object being the re-capture of Winchester. 
Being now very anxious to get home, I 
followed close upon the rear of our army, 
and when the attack upon Winchester 
commenced I was but four miles distant 
from the scene of action. 

When the artillery on both sides opened 
fire, the familiar sound reminded me of 
my own adventures on a former battle- 


field, and I resolved to be at least a spec- 
tatress of this. I joined a wounded 
officer, who, though disabled from tak- 
ing an active part in the fight, where, 
by his crippled condition, he would but 
have hindered his men, was yet able to 
accompany me some way. 

Accordingly we rode together to an 
eminence which commanded an uninter- 
rupted view of the combat. Here we sat 
some short time, absorbed in the struggle 
that was going on beneath us. 

" The broken billows of the war, 
And plumed crests of chieftains brave, 
Moating like foam upon the wave." 

But this calm feeling was not of long du- 
ration. I was mounted upon a white horse, 
which was quite conspicuous to the artillery- 
men of a Yankee battery which had been 
pushed up to within three-quarters of a mile 
of the spot that we had selected for our 


watch-tower. A foolish report had been cir- 
culated through their army that in battle I 
rode a white horse, and was "invariably 
at General Jackson's side." Acting upon 
this mistaken idea, the guns of the battery 
were tinned upon us. 

By this time the officer of whom I have 
spoken and myself had been joined by seve- 
ral citizens, ladies and gentlemen, who were 
attracted by curiosity and anxiety to wit- 
ness the fight. They were for the most part 
mounted on emaciated horses and mules 
which had been overlooked by the Yankees 
when they retired, and they one and all 
seemed to consider me as perfect security 
for themselves. 

I shall never forget the stampede that 
was made when a shell came suddenly 
hissing and shrieking in among us. I 
joined, con amore, in the general flight ; 
for I had seen enough of fighting to prefer 


declining with honour the part of a living 
target, when exposure, being quite useless, 
becomes an act of madness. 

The battle was not of long duration. 
The terms were too equal to leave the 
issue long in doubt. 

Milroy's " skedaddle" was even more 
disgraceful than that of Banks. The vic- 
torious Confederates, led on by General 
Lee, pressed hard upon the flying Yankees, 
of whom they killed many, and took more 
prisoners. The pursuit was not abated 
until the enemy were again in Maryland. 

My father, whose health had been broken 
by the severe hardships of the campaign, 
was at home on leave ; and I had the 
double pleasure of being welcomed by 
both my parents to poor Martinsburg. 



Invasion of Pennsylvania — Panic in the Northern 
States — General Lee issues an Order respecting 
private property — Battle of Gettysburg — The 
Retreat of Lee's Army — How I occupied my time 
with other Ladies — I receive a call from Major 
Goff — Am held a Prisoner in my own Home — 
Again come to Washington a Prisoner — ~New 
Quarters— The Carroll Prison — How Ladies and 
Gentlemen were treated who recognised us in 
passing the Carroll — The "Old Familiar Sound" 
once more — The Bayonet— Our Mail Communi- 
cation is again established. 

Elated by their continued successes, the 
Confederates, under General Lee, marched 
on into Pennsylvania. A panic seized the 


people of the North ; for they knew of the 
depredations that they had been commit- 
ting in the South, and of course could not 
expect much mercy from the invading 
army. General Lee, however, issued an 
order to the officers under him not to allow 
their men to burn, pillage, or destroy any 
property; if they did, they were to be 

Though the hearts of the sympathizers 
with the South beat high with hope, for ru- 
mour said that Baltimore and Washington 
were to be attacked, their hopes were 
blighted. The battle of Gettysburg was 
fought. And, oh ! how many of those 
brave and noble fellows who went forward 
proudly to the front, eager to avenge the 
wrongs the South had suffered, who had 
left the beautiful shores of Virginia to de- 
fend their native soil, found a soldier's 
grave ! Or, perchance, they were not even 


buried, their bodies lying upon the battle- 
field where they fell, with no covering 
save the blue canopy of heaven, their bones 
left to bleach in the sunlight, or gleaming 
ghastly white in the moon's pale beams. 

Martinsburg soon became one vast hos- 
pital ; for, as fast as they could be brought 
to the rear, the Confederate wounded of 
the great battle were sent back southward. 
There was no established hospital in my 
native village, it being too near the bor- 
der ; so that the churches and many of the 
public buildings were obliged to be used 
temporarily for that purpose. My time 
was constantly occupied in attending to 
the poor soldiers with whom our home was 
filled. Mrs. Judge McM., of Georgia, who 
had come to seek the dead body of her 
son, having heard of his untimely end, was 
also staying at my mother's. 

Upon the retreat of the Southern army, 


after tlie battle of Gettysburg, they marched 
through Martinsburg, leaving the border 
again in the possession of the Confederate 
cavalry under General B., as General Wade- 
Hampton had been severely wounded. 

I had been from home so long, and my 
mother and father were so anxious that I 
should remain with them, that I hoped, by 
keeping quiet, to be allowed to do so. My 
mother was taken very ill just as the Con- 
federates evacuated the town, it being found 
that they could no longer retain it in their 
possession, and for a short time all was quiet. 

My little baby-sister was but three days 
old when, as I sat in my mother's room, 
I heard the servants exclaim, " Oh, here 
comes de Yankees trou' de town !" I went 
to the window, and, looking out, saw that 
a whole brigade had halted in front of my 
home. In a short time two officers ap- 
proached the door, and one of them rang 


the bell. My father, who had gone to 
meet thein, sent me word that Major Goff 

and Lieutenant wished to see me. 

I descended to the drawing-room and was 
introduced to them, when the Major said — 

" Miss Boyd, General Kelly commanded 
me to call and see if you really had re- 
mained at home, such a report haying 
reached head-quarters ; but he did not 
credit it, so I have come to ascertain the 

To this I answered — 

" Major Goff, what is there so peculiarly 
strange in my remaining in my own home 
with my parents ?" feigning perfect ignor- 
ance as I spoke that there was any danger 
to be apprehended from my so doing. He 
replied — 

" But do you not think it rather dan- 
gerous? Are you then really not afraid 
of being arrested ?" 

vol. i. s 


" Oh no ! for I don't know why they 
should do so. I am no criminal !" 

"Yes, true," said he; "but you are a 
rebel, and will do more harm to our cause 
than half the men could do." 

"But there are other rebels besides 

" Yes," he answered ; " but then not so 
dangerous as yourself." 

After a few moments' longer conversa- 
tion he withdrew, bidding us " Good morn- 
ins; " as he left. 

For some days we saw nothing of him, 
and began to hope that I should not be 
further annoyed. But, alas ! my hopes 
were doomed to disappointment ; for 
scarce four days had passed by before an 
order was issued for my arrest. My 
mother was very ill when they came to 
take me, and, fearing that if I were re- 
moved it might prove fatal to her in her 


delicate state of health, my father begged 
that they would let me stay at home, at 
least until she became convalescent. We 
hoped thus to gain time, and, through pri- 
vate influence, to procure my release from 
the department at Washington. To be 
just, although an avowed enemy of the 
Federal cause, I will state that they oblig- 
ingly complied with this request, and placed 
me on parole, but at the same time sta- 
'tioned guards around the house ; watching 
me so strictly that I was not even allowed 
to go out upon the front balcony. 

It was amusing to hear the orders given 
to the sentries ; for instance, " that they 
must not let me come near them, for I 
might give them chloroform, or send a 
dagger through then hearts." 

This was in July; and, between my 
mother's illness, the warm weather, and 
my being a prisoner, I scarcely knew what 

s 2 


to do. Without the necessary pass no 
one was allowed to go in. or come out of 
our house. On one occasion, desiring to 
take a walk, I got a special permit from 
the commanding officer, which read as 
follows : — 

u Miss Belle Boyd has permission io walk 
out for half an hour, at 5 o'clock this p.m., 
giving her tvord of honour that she will use 
nothing which she may see or hear to the 
disadvantage of the TJ. 8. troops.' 1 '' 

I had gone only a few blocks from 
home when I was arrested and sent back, 
with a guard on each side of me, their 
muskets loaded. In about an hour's time 
I received a note from the head-quarters 
of the general, informing me, that, although 
on parole, u I was not allowed to promenade 
freely in Martinsburg" Vexatious and in- 
sulting to my feelings as this was, my 
troubles were not at an end. 


Nearly a month passed away, during 
which period I was kept in a state of 
anxious suspense as to what would even- 
tually be my fate. At last, one day, when 
we were all hoping that I should soon be 
at liberty to do and act as I pleased, 
Major "Walker, the Provost-Marshal, called, 
with a detective, and informed me that I 
must get ready to go to Washington City ; 
that the Secretary of War, Mr. Stanton, 
had so ordered it ; and that I was to take 
my departure from home at eleven a.m. 
the next day. 

There was no hope of escape for me, as 
the house was vigilantly guarded by the 
sentries. My poor mother, but just reco- 
vered from her grave illness, became se- 
riously worse at the bare idea of my being 
again thrown into prison. My father, 
who was always so good and kind to me, 
determined that I should not go unaccom- 


panied, trusting myself to the tender mer- 
cies of a detective. So, next day, when 
the time came for us to leave, I was 
attended by my fond parent ; and, after 
bidding a tearful adieu to my poor mother, 
brothers, and sisters, who wept bitterly, 
we started once more for Washington 

I shall pass over my dreary journey of 
one hundred miles. There was little of 
interest to commend it to the attention 
of my readers ; for they can readily ima- 
gine the sad, tearful girl, and the father 
vainly attempting to comfort her. 

When I arrived in Washington, tired 
and worn, I was immediately taken, not 
to my former quarters, but to the Carroll 
Prison. This large unpretending brick 
building, situate near the Old Capitol, was 
formerly used as a hotel, under the name 
of Carroll Place, and belonged to a Mr. 


Duff Green, a resident in the city. But, 
since my first taste of prison life, it had 
been converted into a receptacle for rebels, 
prisoners of state, hostages, blockade- 
runners, smugglers, desperadoes, spies, 
criminals under sentence of death, and, 
lastly, a large number of Federal officers 
convicted of defrauding the Government. 
Many of these last were army-contractors 
and quarter-masters, of whom I shall 
merely observe that they seemed to care 
very little about their ultimate fate, and 
evidently enjoyed the, to them, prepos- 
terous notion, suggested in the journals 
of the day, that Mr. Lincoln was Napo- 
leonic in his idea of punishing them for 
their misdeeds. 

At the guarded gates of this Yankee Bas- 
tile, I bade adieu to my father ; and, once 
more, iron bars shut me off from the outer 
world, and from all that is dear in this 


life. I was conducted to what was termed 
the "room for distinguished guests" — the 
best room which this place boasts, except 
some offices attached to the building. In 
this apartment had been held, though not 
for a long period of time, Miss Antonia F., 
Nannie T., with her aged mother, and 
many other ladies belonging to our 
best families in the South. Again my 
monotonous prison routine began. It 
seemed to me that the world would never 
go round on its axis ; for the days and 
nights were interminably long, and many, 
many, were the hours that I spent gazing 
forth through the bars of my grated win- 
dows with an apathetic listlessness. Yet 
there were times when I wished that my 
soul were but free to soar away from those 
who held me captive. 

Friends who chanced to pass the Carroll 
would frequently stop and nod in kindly 


recognition of some familiar face at the 
windows; unconscious that, in so doing-, 
they violated prison regulations. When 
noticed by the sentries, these good Sama- 
ritans were immediately "halted;" and, if 
riding or driving, were often made to 
dismount by the officious and impudent 
corporal of the guard, and forced to enter 
the bureau of the prison — there to remain 
until such time as it should please their 
tormentors to let them depart. Can it 
be doubted that many went away with 
the unalterable opinion, that a sterner 
despotism than existed in the United 
States was nowhere to be found ? Defence- 
less women were not permitted to pass 
unscathed, because a drunken and brutal 
set, vested with a "little brief authority," 
saw fit to vent their spleen upon the 

A few days after my arrival at the 


prison I heard the " old familiar sound" 
of a grating instrument against the wall, 
apparently coming from the room adjoining 
mine. Whilst engaged in watching to see 
the exact portion of the wall whence it 
came, I observed the plaster give way, 
and next instant the point of a knife-blade 
was perceptible. I immediately set to 
work on my side, and soon, to my unspeak- 
able joy, had formed a hole large enough 
for the passing of tightly-rolled notes. 

Ascertaining my unfortunate neighbours 
to be, beyond a doubt, u sympathizers," I 
was greatly relieved; for our prison was 
not without its system of espionage to trap 
the incautious. These neighbours were 
Messrs. Brookes, Warren, Stuart, and 
Williams; and from them I learnt that 
they had been here for nine months, 
having been captured whilst attempting to 
get South and join the Southern army. 


But soon, alas! this little paper corre- 
spondence, that enlivened, whilst it lasted, a 
portion of my heavy time, was put a stop 
to by Mr. Lockwood, the officer of the keys, 
whose duty it was to secure our rooms, and 
who was always prying about when not 
otherwise engaged. Although it was well 
concealed on both sides, our impromptu 
post-office could not escape his Yankee 
cunning ; and he at once had the gentlemen 
removed into the room beyond, and the 
mural disturbance closed up with plaster. 

Several days subsequently I learned 
that I was to have a companion in a Miss 
Ida P., arrested on the charge of being 
a rebel mail-carrier. I was allowed to 
speak with and visit her as soon as she 
arrived, and she was placed in the room 
that had been occupied by the above- 
mentioned gentlemen. 

Now, between her room and that to 


which the gentlemen had been removed, 
there was a door. This the workmen 
nailed up, and then boarded over ; but I 
watched very attentively which plank was 
placed over the key-hole, and pointed it 
out to the new-comer. We then held a 
council of war as to the best way of getting 
the board off the key-hole. We tried 
several times, but our combined efforts 
produced no effect upon the stoutly-nailed 
wood-work; and, having neither hatchet 
nor hammer, we were about to give it up, 
when I suddenly bethought me of the sen- 
try outside. " Oh ! " I said, ' ' I will manage 
it ! " and, going to the door, I bribed the 
sentinel with some oranges and apples, and, 
after talking to him for some time, asked 
him to " lend me his bayonet ? " Pausing 
an instant, he finally unfixed it from his 
gun, then, with the whispered injunction 
of " Be quick, miss !" handed it to me. I 


ran into the room with it, and, whilst Miss 
Ida watched, I endeavoured to wrench off 
the obstinate board. 

But, at this critical conjuncture, the prison 
superintendent, Mr. Wood, came rushing 
up the stairway ; and I only had time to 
thrust the bayonet under the camp bed- 
stead when he entered the room. I was 
frightened, I will admit; for in a few 
minutes the sentries would be relieved, 
and of course the soldier would have to 
account for the loss of his bayonet. We 
wanted to free him from complicity in the 
affair ; and woman's wit came to my assist- 
ance, as it had often done before. 

I proposed that, my room being larger 
than Miss Ida's, we should go in there and 
sit down. Fortunately to this the superin- 
tendent agreed. After remaining for a 
short time, I said, " Oh ! Miss Ida, I have 
forgotten my pocket-handkerchief!" and, 


running hastily into her room, I seized the 
bayonet, wrenched off the board, and 
returned the weapon to the scared sentinel. 

Little did Mr. Wood imagine the part I 
had just played, as he sat glaring around 
him with his cat-like eyes, and boasting 
that " there warn't anything going on in 
that prison that he didn't know of." For 
several days after this Miss Ida and I 
whiled away our time by writing and 
receiving notes. 

Miss P., however, did not remain here 
long, for, having given her parole that she 
would do nothing more against the Yankee 
Government, she was released. 



A very Romantic "Way of Corresponding — The Prison 
Authorities for once are at a loss — My Confederate 
Flags — They wave over Washington in spite of 
Yankee assertions to the contrary — I become 
very ill — Air. Stanton in an unfavourable light 
once more — My Prisoner of Front Eoyal in her 
true Character — Sentence of Court-martial is an- 
nounced to me — A Pielapse of my former Illness — 
I am banished — The cry of "Murder" raised 
round the Corner — Incidents in my Prison Life. 

One evening, about nine o'clock, while 
seated at my window, I was singing " Take 
me back to my own sunny South,'' when 
quite a crowd of people collected on the 


opposite side of the street, listening. After 
I had ceased, they passed on ; and I could 
not help heaving a sigh as I watched their 
retreating figures. What would I not have 
given for liberty ? Rising from my chair, 
I approached the gas, lowered it, then 
resumed my seat, and, leaning my head 
against the bars, sank into deep thought. 

I was soon startled from this reverie by 
hearing something whiz by my head into 
the room and strike the wall beyond. At 
the moment I was alarmed ; for my first 
impression was that some hireling of the 
Yankee Government, following the plan of 
Spanish countries, had endeavoured to put 
an end to my life. I almost screamed with 
terror ; and it was some minutes before I 
regained sufficient self-command to turn 
on the gas, so that, if possible, I might 
discover what missile had entered the 


Glancing curiously round, I saw, to my 
astonishment, that it was an arrow which 
had struck the wall opposite my window ; 
and fastened to this arrow was a letter ! 
I immediately tore it open, and found that 
it contained the following words : — 

" Poor girl ! you have the deepest sympathy of all 
the best community in "Washington City, and there are 
many who would lay down their lives for you, hut they are 
powerless to act or aid you at present. You have many 
very warm friends ; and we daily watch the journals to 
see if there is any news of you. If you will listen 
attentively to the instructions that I give you, you will 
be able to correspond with and hear from your friends 

" On Thursdays and Saturdays, in the evening, just 
after twilight, I will come into the square opposite the 
prison. When you hear some [one whistling ' 'Twas 
within a mile of Edinbro' town,' if alone and all is 
safe, lower the gas as a signal and leave the window. 
I will then shoot an arrow into your room, as I have 
done this evening, with a letter attached. Do not be 
alarmed, as I am a good shot. 

" The manner in which you will reply to these mes- 
sages will be in this way : Procure a large india-rubber 

VOL. I. T 


ball ; open it, and place your communication within it, 
written on foreign paper ; then sew it together. On 
Tuesdays I shall come, and you will know of my pre- 
sence by the same signal. Then throw the ball, with 
as much force as you can exert, across the street into 
the square, and trust to me, I will get it. 

" Do not be afraid. I am really your friend. 

" C. H." 

For a long time I was in doubt as to the 
propriety or safety of replying to this note ; 
for I naturally reasoned that it was some 
Yankee who was seeking to gain evidence 
against me. But prudence at last yielded 
to my womanly delight at this really 
romantic way of corresponding with an 
unknown who vowed he was my friend; 
and I decided on replying. 

It was an easy thing for me to procure 
an india-rubber ball without subjecting 
myself to the least suspicion ; and by this 
means I commenced a correspondence 
which I had no reason to regret ;. for. 


whoever the mysterious personage may 
have been, he was, without doubt, honour- 
able and sincere in his professions of 

Through him I became possessed of 
much valuable information regarding the 
movements of the Federals; and in this 
unique style of correspondence I have 
again and again received small Confederate 
flags, made by the ladies of Washington 
City, with which I was only too proud and 
happy to adorn my chamber. 

Little did the sentries below know of 
the mischief that was brewing above their 
heads; and where and how I had been 
enabled to obtain Confederate flags was a 
subject of much wonderment in the prison. 
It is almost needless to remark that I took 
care to keep the secret, though I must 
acknowledge that there was rashness in 
displaying the tiny Southern banners> and 

t 2 


danger of subjecting myself to insult from 
the brutes who guarded me. But I could 
not resist the temptation ! 

On several occasions I fastened one of 
these ensigns to a broom-stick, in lieu of a 
flag-staff, and then suspended it outside 
the window, after which I retired to the 
back part of the room, out of sight of the 
sentinel. In a short time this would attract 
his attention — for, when on watch, the sen- 
tinels generally were gazing heavenwards, 
the only time, I really believe, that such was 
the case — and he would roar out at the 
top of his voice some such command as — 

" Take in that flag, or I'll blow 

your — — brains out ! " 

Of course I paid no attention to this, for 
I was out of danger, when the command 
would generally be followed up by the 
report of a musket ; and I have often heard 
the thud of the mini^-ball as it struck the 


ceiling or wall of ray room. Before the 
sentinel had time to re-load his piece, 
I would go to the window and look out, 
seemingly as unconscious as though nothing 
had occurred to disturb my equanimity. 

Just after this episode of the "arrow- 
headed" correspondence — a green spot in 
my memory, to which I revert with pleasure 
— I was taken dangerously ill with typhoid 
fever. Can this be wondered at, when I 
inform my readers that the room in which 
I was confined was low and fearfully warm, 
and that the ah- was fetid and rank with 
the fumes of an ill- ventilated Bastile ? 

In this same room Miss McDonough died 
(as will be seen by referring to my hus- 
band's journal). The poor child was under 
the treatment of Doctor F., the surgeon of 
the prison — the same who attended me for 
some time, but under whose awkward treat- 
ment I grew daily, nay, hourly, worse. 


Nor did I begin to recover until I met with 
the kind attendance of a Confederate sur- 
geon, who was a prisoner, like myself, but 
in the Old Capitol ; and it is to him that I 
feel indebted for my final recovery. 

Years may roll by, but my sufferings in 
that prison, both mental and physical, can 
never be obliterated from my memory ; and 
to attempt to describe them would be utterly 
impossible. There I was, far from home 
and friends — no soft hand to smooth my 
fevered brow, no gentle woman near me, 
save a humble negress, who nursed me 
through my illness as though she had been 
my own " black mammee." Relations and 
friends, who had heard of my attack of 
fever, as well as my immediate family, 
endeavoured, time and again, to gain access 
to me ; but they were referred, by his own 
orders, to Secretary Stanton, who, when 
application was made to him for me to be 


removed from the prison during my illness 

at least, would remark, " No ; she is a 

rebel ; let her die there !" 

At the expiration of three weeks, passed 
under the treatment of my new physician, 
I was pronounced convalescent ; and at the 
end of the fourth I was able once more to 
walk about. 

It was at this period of my imprisonment 
that, one day, Captain Mix, of whom I 
shall have occasion to speak hereafter, came 
into my room and said — 

"A most beautiful woman has arrived 
here to-day, and is in the room at the fur- 
ther end of the passage below you." 

At the time I took no notice of the 
remark, and had almost forgotten the inci- 
dent, when, one morning, whilst walking 
in the passage, I saw our new inmate. 
Judge of my astonishment on recognising 
in her my prisoner of Front Royal, who 


had requited my kindness to her when 
there by informing the general that I was 
a bitter enemy of the Yankees. She proved 
to be — alas ! that I should have to write 
aught derogatory to one of my own sex — not 
what she had represented herself, the wife 
of a soldier, but a camp-follower, known as 
' l Miss Annie Jones." She was said to have 
been insane ; but how far this report is to 
be credited I know not. 

Shortly after she was placed here another 
arrival, a Frenchwoman, came in, who was 
charged with having sold her despatches to 
the Confederate States authorities, enacting 
the " spy" for both sides. Neither of these 
women possessed that priceless jewel of 
womanhood — reputation. Yet it was with 
such that I was immured, though, thank 
Heaven ! I was not thrown into immediate 
contact with them. 

My trial by court-martial had mean- 


while been progressing, under the fostering 
tenderness of the Judge-Advocate, L. C. 
Turner — as thoroughly unscrupulous a 
partizan as the United States Government 
possesses in its service. 

One day Captain Mix came into the 
passage, and said to Miss Annie Jones, 
" Prepare yourself to go to the Lunatic 
Asylum to-morrow, as it is the Secretary 
of War's orders." She immediately com- 
menced screaming hysterically, and rushed 
towards the spot where I was standing. 
I turned to leave, when he added, " Oh, 
you need not put on airs by getting out of 
the way, for you've got to go to Fitchburg 
Gaol during the war. You have been sen- 
tenced to hard labour there." 

Miss Jones's screams, coupled with this 
intelligence, completely unnerved me, and 
I fell fainting on the floor, whence I was 
conveyed to my room, only to suffer a 


relapse of the fever from which I had just 

My father, who was in Martinsburg when 
he heard of my sentence and second illness, 
immediately came on to Washington, and, 
after untiring exertions in my behalf, suc- 
ceeded in having the sentence commuted. 
What that commutation was he did not 
then know. It was " banishment to the 
South — never to return north again during 
the war." 

Among the gentlemen who were retained 
as prisoners at the Carroll was Mr. Smith- 
son, formerly one of the wealthiest bankers 
in Washington City. He was charged by 
the Yankees with holding correspondence 
with friends residing in the South, was 
arrested by the authorities, tried by court- 
martial, found guilty, and sentenced to 
five years' imprisonment in the Peniten- 
tiary at hard labour. All his property was 


confiscated, and Lis refined and delicate 
wife, with two little children, who had 
been reared in the lap of luxury, were 
obliged to see their residence taken from 
thern and made into quarters for the 
Yankee officers. They were compelled to 
retire to a garret, with scarcely any of the 
necessaries of life whereon to support 

Before leaving for the South, one of the 
imprisoned Confederate officers, Colonel 
— ' — , gave me letters of introduction to 
the Vice-President, the Honourable Alex- 
ander Stephens, and to the Honourable 
Bowling Baker, Chief Auditor of the 
Southern Treasury Department. In both 
of these letters he spoke of my untiring- 
devotion to the Confederacy, of the zeal 
that I had shown to serve my country at 
all times, and of my kindness, as far as 
lay in my power, to my fellow-prisoners. 


The Colonel further commended me to 
his friends' u kind care and protection." 
These letters were, of course, contraband ; 
and I intended, if I possibly could do so, 
to smuggle them through to Richmond. 

It was agreed that I should leave for 
Fortress Monroe on the 1st day of Decem- 
ber, 1863. My father was still in Washing- 
ton, residing with his niece ; but he was 
so ill that he could not visit me previous 
to my departure. 

One evening, whilst I was looking out 
of my room door, a significant cough at- 
tracted my attention, and, glancing in the 
direction whence it proceeded — the sentry's 
back being turned — I perceived a note, 
tightly rolled up, thrown towards me. I 
picked it up quickly, and, reading it, 
found that it was from Mr. K., of Virginia, 
begging me to aid himself and two friends 
to escape, and also asking for money to 


advance their object. I wrote, in reply, 
that I would do all that lay in my power, 
and, unobserved, I handed him forty dollars. 
By means of my india-rubber ball I 
arranged everything, and the night when 
the attempt should be made was fixed. 

Above Mr. K.'s room was a garret 
occupied by his two friends, who intended 
to escape with him ; and it was so contrived 
that he should get into the garret with the 
others whilst returning from supper. 

At one time I was afraid that this attempt 
would be frustrated, for the sentry, observ- 
ing Mr. K. upon the garret staircase, com- 
manded him to "Halt!" adding, "You 
don't belong there ; so come down." 
Standing in the doorway of my chamber 
at the time, I quickly retorted, "Sentry, 
have you been so long here and don't know 
where the prisoners are quartered? Let 
him pass on to his room." Taking the 


hint, Mr. K. declared that he "knew what 
he was about," which it was very evident 
he did ; and the sentinel, thinking that he 
had made a mistake, allowed him to pro- 
ceed up-stairs. 

This part of the scheme being satisfac- 
torily carried out, I wrote a note to the 
superintendent, informing him that I was 
desirous of seeing him for a few minutes. 
He accordingly came, and I managed to 
detain him by conversing upon various 
topics. Suddenly, from round the corner 
of the prison that faced on the street, arose 
a startling cry of u Murder ! murder \ n I 
know that my heart beat violently, but I 
kept the composure of my face as well as I 
was able ; for this sudden cry was the com- 
mencement of a ruse de guerre which, if 
it should succeed, would liberate my friends 
from thraldom. 

Mr. Wood had, at the first cry of 


" Murder !" rushed to one of the windows 
and flung it open to see what was the matter; 
and some soldiers, who were lounging 
outside, waiting for their turn of sentry 
duty, ran hurriedly to the spot from which 
the cries proceeded. Meanwhile, those in 
the room above were not idle. Eemoving 
in haste a portion of the roof, they 
scrambled out upon the eaves, descended 
by means of a lightning-conductor into the 
street below, and made off, sheltered by 
the darkness. 

Of course the next morning, when the 
roll was called, and the prisoners were 
mustered, Mr. K. and his companions were 
found to be missing. It was strongly 
suspected that I had connived at their 
escape, and knew more than I pretended 
about the affair; but, as they could not 
prove anything against me, I was not 
punished. I subsequently heard, to my 


great joy, that the fugitives had arrived 
safely in Richmond. 

Shortly after my recovery from the 
severe illness which had prostrated me, I 
wrote to General Martindale (commandant 
at that time of the forces in and around 
Washington), asking him to grant me the 
privilege of walking for a while each day 
in the Capitol Square. This square lies in 
front of the Carroll * and I thought that a 
change, however slight, from the close 
confinement of my room would greatly 
strengthen me. To my letter I received a 
gracious answer, with permission to pro- 
menade in the square, on condition that I 
gave a written promise that, on my word 
of honour as a lady, I would hold commu- 
nication with no one, either by word of 
mouth or by letter. 

I was glad to do anything to get once 
more a breath of pure air that did not 


come to me through prison bars. So I 
signed the promise; and every evening, 
when I felt so inclined, I was permitted to 
walk for half an hour, from five until half- 
past, in the square, followed by a corporal 
and guard with loaded muskets. 

Even this limited enjoyment was not of 
long duration ; for, when it became known 
in Washington City, through the public 
journals, that I walked in the square, 
Southern sympathizers — and their name 
was legion — both ladies and gentlemen, 
would congregate to see me; and often, 
when I passed, would they give utter- 
ance to pitying expressions on my 

Intelligence of this eventually reached 
the ears of the authorities, through various 
channels, and ultimately led to an order 
from Mr. Stanton revoking the parole that 
had been granted. Thus my promenade 

vol. i. u 


became one of the things of the past, to 
which I often reverted with regret. 

On one occasion a party of young girls, in 
passing me, dropped a square piece of Bristol 
board that had a Confederate battle-flag 
and my name worked upon it in worsted. 
The corporal detected the movement, and, 
before I could gain possession of this 
treasonable gift, picked it up himself. He 
commanded the whole group to " halt" 
immediately ; and, had it not been for my 
earnest entreaties and supplications on 
their behalf, he would have arrested the 
entire party, who, terrified beyond measure 
at the turn affairs had assumed, added 
their appeals for mercy to mine. The 
corporal happening to possess that com- 
modity, a heart, was merciful, and dis- 
missed them with a slight reprimand. 

Promising to say nothing that would 
implicate him should the flag ever be dis- 


covered upon me, I succeeded in procuring 
it from my guardian by a bribe of five 
dollars ; and I wore it concealed long after 
I had left Washington for the South. 

Had I been a queen, or a reigning 
princess, my every movement could not 
have been more faithfully chronicled at 
this period of my imprisonment. My 
health was bulletined for the gratification 
of the public ; and if I walked or was in- 
disposed, it was announced after the most 
approved fashion by the newspapers. Thus, 
from the force of circumstances, and not- 
through any desire of my own, I became a